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showing the forming of a mould. (See page 45). 






Illustrated by 170 Photographs and Drawings 



191 2 






MANY books have already been published on the subject of 
Church Bells, and in particular those of England, but as yet 
there hardly exists an adequate manual of the subject ; much 
that has been written being now out of date, or lacking in 
comprehensiveness, or marred by superficial and inaccurate 
treatment. The present volume is an attempt by one who has 
made our Church Bells his special study for over twenty years, 
to set forth within a convenient compass the more important 
aspects of a subject which from its many-sidedness and its still 
living interest appeals perhaps to a more extensive class of 
readers than any other branch of English archaeology. 

The writer owes a special debt of gratitude to Mr. Francis 
Bond, the editor of this series, for the valuable assistance he 
has rendered in the collection of material and illustrations for 
the work, for help in the revision of the MS. and proofs, and 
for many useful suggestions as to its form and appearance. 
The Rev. Canon Nolloth of Beverley has kindly revised the 
earlier chapters, and contributed much information of value. 
Thanks are also due to the Rev. Preb. Deedes of Chichester 
for assistance in compiling the bibliography, and to Mr. 
A. Hughes of the Whitechapel foundry for sundry useful in- 

The illustrations in the text are mainly taken from older 
publications, or from blocks and photographs in the possession 
of the writer. He has also to thank the Trustees of the British 
Museum for the loan* -of a- block; Mr. \Y. R. Lethaby for per- 



mission to use an illustration from his Westminster Abbey ; and 
Mr. A. II. Cocks for similar permission in regard to the 
specimens of lettering from the plates of his Church Bells of 
Buckinghamshire. The Rev. D. H. S. Cranage has also kindly 
sanctioned the use of two views of churches from his Churches of 
Shropshire. For the half-tone illustrations blocks have been 
courteously supplied by Messrs. Mears & Stainbank, Messrs. 
Warner, and the Rev. G. E. Belcher of Chaldon ; also by the 
proprietors of the Children's Magazine and by the Record 
Press Company. To the following also, who have furnished 
photographs, grateful acknowledgments must be made : The 
Rev. I. W. Charlton (Snettisham) ; the Rev. Canon Nolloth and 
Mr. Goulding (Beverley) ; Mr. Francis Bond ; Mr. F. T. S. 
Houghton ; Mr. F. Jenkins (Southwold) ; Mr. A. G. Wright 
(Colchester) ; and the bell-founding firms of Mears & 
Stainbank, Taylor, and Warner. 



Preface v 


I. Historical Introduction i 

II. Technical Processes; Towers and Belfries 29 

III. Ringing and Ringers- - 73 

IV. Great Bells and Rings ; Their Weights and 

Sizes; Carillons and Chimes - 95 

V. Uses and Customs; I. Sunday Uses - 114 

VI. Uses and Customs; II. Festivals and Daily Bells 138 

VII. Uses and Customs; III. Funeral and Miscel- 
laneous Uses - - 152 

VIII. Founders and Foundries. Introductory; London 

Mediaeval Foundries - 175 

IX. Provincial Mediaeval Foundries - 193 

X. Post-Reformation Foundries. I. The South and 

West of England 215 

XI. Post-Reformation Foundries. II. The East and 

North - - 235 

XII. The Dedication of Bells - 256 

XIII. The Decoration of Bells - - 281 



XIV. The Inscriptions on Bells. I. The Mediaeval 

1'eriod ... 


XV. The Inscriptions on Bells. II. The Post-Re- 
formation Period - - - 328 

XVI. Loss and Destruction of Bells - - 350 

XVII. Campanology as a -Pursuit - - 358 

Appendix : English Bell-Founders - - 367 

Index of Persons and Places - - 385 

Index Rerum - - - 396 



Those marked ivith an asterisk are not in the British Museum Library 
or the Bod/eian] 

Acland-Troyte, Capt. J. E. The Change-ringer's Guide to the 

Steeples of England. 2nd edition. London, 1882. 
Andrews, W. Curious Church Customs, p. 49 ff. 2nd edition. 

London, 1898. 
*Arnauld, H. De Campanarum usu. Altdorf, 1665. 121110. 
Banister, W. The Art and Science of Bell Ringing. 2nd edition. 

London, 1879. 
Baronius, Caesar. Annales Ecclesiasticae, torn. x. De Ritu 

consecrandi Campanas. Rome, 1588, and later editions. 
*Barraud, Abbe. Notice sur les cloches. Caen, 1841. 8vo. 
Batty, Rev. R. E. Church Bells. Aylesbury, 1850. (Records of 

Bucks., i. p. 117.) 
Beaufoy, S. The Ringer's True Guide. London, 1804. i2mo. 
Beckett, Sir Edmund (formerly Denison, afterwards Lord 

Grimthorpe). A Treatise on Clocks, Watches, and Bells. 

London, i860. Latest edition, 1903, pp. 404. 8vo. 

On the Casting and Ringing of Large Bells, in Journ. R. Inst. 

Brit. Archit., 1856. 

Bell News and Ringers' Record. London and Walthamstow, 1881, &c. 

In progress. Ringing news, &c. 
Bergner, H. Die Glocken der Herzogthums Sachsen-Meiningen 

(Verein fur Meiningische Geschichte, Heft 33). 1899. Pp. 169. 
Berthele, J. Enquetes Campanaires. Notes sur les Cloches et les 

Fondeurs de cloches du VHP au XX e siecle. Montpelier, 1903. 

8vo. Pp. 758. 
Archives Campanaires beiges et rhenanes {Annales de I'Acad. 

darcheol. de Belgique, lvii.). Antwerp, 1905. 
Beyerlinck, L. Conciones variorum argumentorum. 44 De 

Campanarum Usu. Cologne, 1627. 

Magnum Theatrum humanae vitae (sub vocibus Campana, 

Tintinnabulum, &c). Cologne, 1631 ; Lyons, 1678. Fol 


Bierstaedt, A. Dissertatio historica de Campanarum materia et 

forma. Jena, 1685. 
*Billon, J. B. Campanologie. Etude sur les Cloches et les 

Sonneries franchises et etrangeres. Caen, 1866. 8vo. 
Bingham, J. Antiquities of the Christian Church. Bk. viii., Chaps. 

8, 15; Bk. xi., Chaps. 4, 2. London, 1867. 
Biringuccio, V. Pirotechnia, Chap. x. Venice, 1540, &c. (French 

transl. by J. Vincent, Paris, 1556.) 
Blunt, W. The Use and Abuse of the Church Bells, with practical 

suggestions. 1846. 8vo. (Reviewed Ecclesiologist, No. 49, 

p. 105.) 
*Boehmer, G. L. Programma de Feudo Campanario. Gottingen, 


Bona, J. Rerum Liturgicarum Libri duo (i. chap. 22, de Signis et 

Campanis). Rome, 167 1. 
Borromaeus, C. Liber de Instructione Fabricae et de numero 

Campanarum (Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis). Milan, 1582 and 

1843; Paris, 1855. 
Brand, J. Popular Antiquities of Great Britain. 3 vols. 1849. 

(Bohn's Antiq. Libr.) 
Briscoe, J. P. Curiosities of the Belfry. London, 1883. Pp. 156. 

Brown, A. W. The Law of Church Bells. Uppingham, 1857. i2mo. 

* History and Antiquity of Bells. 1856. 

Bulwer, H. E. Glossary of the Terms employed in connection with 

Church Bells and Change-ringing. London, 1901. Pp. 83. 8vo. 
*Buommattei, B. Declamazione delle Campane dopo le sue Cicalate 

delle tre Sirocchie. Pisa, 1635. 
Cancellieri, F. Descrizione della nuova Campana maggiore della 

Basilica Vaticana. Rome, 1786. 
Descrizioni delle due nove Campane di Campidoglio beneditte 

del Pio VII. Rome, 1806. 4to. 
Ccunpanalogia, or the Art of Ringing improved, by F. S. (Fabian 

Stedman). London, 1677. i8mo. 

[The second edition of Stedman's book published in 1668; 

subsequent editions were printed in 1702, 1705, 1733, 1753, 

1766. See also Monk.] 
[Carre, Dom R.] Recueil curieux et edifiant sur les Cloches de 

l'Eglise, avec les Ceremonies de leur Benediction. Cologne, 

1757. 8vo. 
Chateaubriand, F. A. La genie du Chretianisme, Vol. iii. Chap. 1. 

Paris, 1804. 
Chauncy, Sir Henry. Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire, 166, 167. 

London, 1700. Fol. Also 2nd edition, 1826, i. p. 328. 
Church Bells. London, 1870-1907. (A weekly periodical containing 

much information as to bells and bell-ringing.) 
Church Bells and Bell-ringing. "Guardian" Office, London, 1907. 

Pp. 38. 


Cloches, L'Art de la fonte des, in Diet, des Arts et Metiers, i. pt. 2, p. 

709. Paris, 1773. 4to. 
Cole MSS. in Brit. Mus. (Add. 5827-5828, &c.). (Gives number of 

bells in each church in several dioceses about 1740.) See G. J. 

Gray's Index (1912), p. n. 
Collection of Legitimate Methods. (Council of Church Bell Ringers.) 

London, Bemrose, 1907, &c. 
Corblet, J. Notice Historique et Liturgique surles Cloches. Paris, 1857. 
*Croombe, — . A few words on Bells and Bell-ringing. Bristol, 

1851. 8vo. 
Daniel-Tyssen, J. R., F.S.A. Survey of the Church of the College of 

Mailing, pp. 25, 27, 29. Lewes, 1870. 8vo. (Sussex Arch. 

Coll., xxi.) 
D'Arcet, J. Instructions sur l'Art de Metal des Cloches. Paris, 

1794. 4to. 
Denison. See Beckett. 
*Derfelde, — . Uissertatio de Origine et Nomine Campanarum. 

Jena, 1685. 
Dergny, M. D. Les Cloches de Pays de Bray. Paris, 1866. 8vo. 
D'Ivernois, R. La voix des Cloches dans l'Eglise. Neufchatel, 1867. 
Donnet, F. Les cloches chez nos peres (Bull, et Ann. de lAcad. 

dArcheol. de Belgique, ser. 5, vol. 1.). Antwerp, 1898. 8vo. 

Les cloches d'Anvers. Antwerp, 1899. 8vo. 

Varietes Campanaires (Ann. de I Acad. d'Archcol. de Belgique, 

lvi. 4). Antwerp, 1904. 

Downman, Rev. E. A. Ancient Church Bells in England. Privately 
printed, 1898. 

Ducange, cur. Dufresne. Glossarium, ii. 87-92. Ed. Venetiis, 1737. 

Durandus, Gul. Rationale Divinorum Officiorum. (De campanis 
ecclesiarium, lib. i. cap. 4.) 1459, &c. Fol. Translated and 
edited by Webb and Neale, Leeds, 1843. 

Durantus, J. S. De ritibus ecclesiae catholicae, i. chap. 22. Paris, 

Dyer, T. F. T. Church Lore Gleanings. London, 1891. 8vo. 

Ecclesiologist, iv. 207. Specimen inscriptions on Church Bells, 
xxvi. 258. Paper on bells by J. H. Sperling. Cambridge, 1845, &c. 

Effmann, W. Die Glocken der Stadt Freiburg i. d. Schweiz. 
Strassburg, 1899. ^P- 2 °8- Svo. 

Ellacombe, Rev. H. T. Bells of the Church. Exeter, 1872. 

[A supplement to the Church Bells of Devon (v. infr.), with 
which it is usually bound, with a continuous pagination, from 
p. 193 onwards. This has been followed in the references in the 
present work; pp. 193-554 correspond to pp. 1-362 of the 
separate edition. On pp. 293, 545 are exhaustive bibliographies 
of the subject down to about 1870, particularly of foreign works, 
but some of these works cannot now be verified. They are 
inserted in the present list, in the hope of further elucidation.] 


ELLACOMBEj Rev. H. T. Practical remarks on Belfries and Ringers, 

with an Appendix on Chiming. London and Bristol, 1850. 4th 

edition, 1878. 
Ellys, Sir R. Fortuita Sacra, quibus sufficitur Commentarius de 

Cymbalis. Rotterdam, 1727. 8vo. 
*Emdenius, J. Von rechter Einweihung der Glocken. Neuhus, 1634. 
Encyclopaedia Britannica. nth edition, Vol. iii. ff. 687 ff. (Article 

Bell, by T. L. Papillon.) Cambridge, 191 1. 
Ephemeris Campanographica. (A French periodical dealing with the 

systematic investigation of French bells, begun about 1911. 

Articles by Abbe Boquet and others.) 
Ersch, J. S., and Gruber, J. G. Allgemeine Encyclopadie der 

Wissenschaften und Kiinste. Article Glokke. Leipzig, 181 8, 

&c. 4to. 
*, T. M. De eo quod justum est circa Campanas. 

Halle, 1708. 4to. 
Essai sur le Symbolisme de la Cloche. Poictiers, 1859. 8vo. 
*Fesc, Laberanus du (?). Des Cloches. Paris, 1607-19. 12010. 
Fletjry, C. and G. Rohault de. La Messe. Vol. vi. (1888), 

p. 145 ff. 
Gatty, Rev. A. The Bell, its Origin, History, and Uses. London, 

1848 (pp. 117). (Reviewed in Ecclesiologist, viii. 313, 1848.) 
Germain, L. Les anciennes cloches de Sangues. Nancy, 1890. 

Pp. 71. 8vo. 
*Grimaud, G. Liturgie Sacree, avec un Traite des Cloches. Lyons, 

1666. 4to. 
Grimthorpe, Lord. See Beckett. 
*Guraccius (Guazzo), F. M. De Sonitu Campanamm. 
Harrison, J. (the bell-founder of Barton-on Humber). Introduc- 
tion to a Treatise on the Proportion, &c, of Bells. Hull, 

Haweis, Rev. H. R. Music and Morals. 3rd edition. London, 1873. 

Heywood, A. P. A Treatise on Duffield ; a musical method for eight, 

ten, or twelve bells. London, 1888. Pp. 119. 8vo. 
*Hii,schen, J. Dissertatio de Campanis Templorum. Leipzig, 1690. 
Hilton, J. Chronograms, i. 5, 70, 71, 72, 199, 213; ii. 566-568; 

iii. 210, 211, 470. London, 1882, '85, '95. 4to. 
Hoffmann, F., and Zoelffel, B. Beitrage zur Glockenkunde des 

Hessenlandes (Verein fiir hessische Geschichte, Zeitschr., N.F., 

Supplt. 15). Cassel, 1906. Pp. 26. 
Hofmann, J. J. Lexicon, s.v. Campana, &c. Leyden, 1694. 
Hombergius, G. De superstitiosis Campanarum pulsibus. Frankfurt, 

1572. 4to. 
Hone, W. Every-Day Book. 3 vols. London, 1831. 

Year Book. London, 1832. 8vo. 

Hope, R. C. English Bell-founders. {Arch.Journ., 1. p. 193 ff.). 1893. 

(Largely superseded by list in present work.) 


Hubbard, H. Elements of Campanologia, or the science of ringing 

exemplified. Norwich, 1845. i2mo. 

Fourth edition, revised. 8vo. Loddon, Norfolk, 1876. l 

Jadart, H. Les cloches du canton de Rethel. Rethel, 1897. 

Pp. 94. 8vo. 
Jones, W. Clavis Campanologia, or a Key to the Art of Ringing. 

London, 1888. 
*Katszey, — . Notizen fiber Glocken. 2 vols. Cologne, 1855. 8vo. 
Kircherus, A. Musurgia universalis, sive aes magni consoni et 

dissoni. 2 vols. Rome, 1650. Fol. 
Lampe, F. A. Tractatus De Cymbalis Veterum. Bremen, 1700. 
*Launay, C. Der Glockeniesser. Leipzig, 1834. (French transl., 

i8 5 4-) , 
Lecler, A. Etude sur les cloches du diocese de Limoges. Limoges, 

1902. Pp. 196. 8vo. 
Liebeskind, P. Die Glocken des Neustadter Kreises. Jena, 1905. 

Pp. 140. 8vo. 
Lomax, B. Bells and Bell-ringers. London, 1879. 
Ludham, Rev. M. S., in Edinburgh Encyc. Article Horology. Edin- 
burgh, 1830. 
Lukis, Rev. W. C. An account of Church Bells. London, 1857. 
Macer, D. Hierolexicon, s.v. Campana. Rome, 1677. Fol. 
Mackie, S. J. Great Paul. London, 1882. Pp. 84. 8vo. 
Madge, S. Moulton Church and its bells, with a summary of the 

Bells of Northamptonshire (and bibliography, &c). London, 

Magius, H. De Tintinnabulis. Hanover and Amsterdam, 1608, 1664, 

1689. (See Sallengre, Thes. ant. Rom., 17 18.) 
Martene, E. De antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus, iv. cap. 2 (vol. iii. p. 6). 

Venice, 1783. 
Maskell, W. Monumenta Ritualia, i. p. 184. 3 vols. Oxford, 1882. 
Maunsell, W. T. Church Bells and Ringing. London, 1 861. i2mo. 
Medelius, G. An Campanarum sonitus fulmina, &c, impedire possit. 

1703. 4 to. 
Mersennus, M. Harmonicorum, Lib. iv. (De Campanis). Paris, 

1629, 1648. 
*Miller, — . Church Bells. London, 1843. nmo. 
*Mitzler, B. A. De Campanis. 
Monk, J. Campanalogia improved; or the art of ringing made easy. 

London, 1888. (Revised edition of F. Stedman's.) 
Montferrand, A. R. Description de la grande Cloche de Moscow. 

Paris, 1840. Fol. 
Morand, M. F. Inscriptions et Noms d'ancienne et de la nouvelle 

Cloche du Beffroi de Boulogne sur Mer. 1841. 
North, T. English Bells and Bell Lore. Leek, 1888. 

1 The title is given in Catalogue of G. W. Davis, Charing Cross Road (May 191 2), 
Elements of Campanologia or an Essay on the Art of Ringing. (No doubt the same 
book as the above.) 


Notes and Queries. London, 1850, &c. In progress. Many bell- 
inscriptions given in earlier series. 
O'Reilly, J. P. Mode of ringing in early churches of Northern Spain 

and Ireland. {Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 3rd Ser., vi., 1900-02.) 
Otte, H. Glockenkunde. Leipzig, 1884. Pp. 220. 8vo. 
Paciaudi, P. M. Dissertazione su due Campane di Capua. Naples, 

1750. 4to. 
Pacichelli, Ab. J. R. De Tintinnabulo Nolano Lucubratio Autumnalis. 

Naples, 1693. 
Pancirollus, G. Nova Reperta, Tit. 9, de Campanis. Frankfurt, 

1603. 4to. 
Papillon, Rev. T. L. See Encyclopaedia Brit. 
Pardiac, L'Abbe J. B. Notice sur les cloches de Bordeaux. Paris, 

1858. 8vo. 
P[arker] J[ohn] H[enry]. On some arrangements for the hanging of 

Bells in Churches without Towers. Arch. Journal, iii. 205-213. 

London, 1846. 8vo. 
Peacock, F. Church Bells : when and why rung. In Andrews' 

Curious Church Customs, 33-48. London, 1898. 
Pearson, C. The Ringer's Guide to the Church Bells of Devon. 

London, 1888. Pp. 138. 8vo. 
Pease, A. S. Uses of Bells among the Greeks and Romans. (Harvard 

Studies, xv., 1904.) 
Penny Encyclopaedia. Article Bell, by Sir H. Ellis. London, 1835. 
Pluche, L'Abbe N. A. Le Spectacle de la Nature ; Entretiens sur 

les particulates de l'Hist. Nat., xxxii. (Vol. vii. on Bells.) 

Paris, 1732. 1 21110. 
Pontificale Romanum. De benedictione signi vel campanae, fols. 

165-169, v. Venetiis apud Suntas, 1561. Fol. Romae, 1595, pp. 


*Powell. Touches of Stedman's Triples, 1828. Fol. 

Pufendorf, S. De Campanarum Usu in obitu Parochiani publice 
significando. (Elementorum Jurisprud. Univers., iv. No. 104.) 
Hague, 1660. 2 vols. Pp. 384. 8vo. 

*Pygius, A. De Pulsatione Campanarum pro defunctis. 

Quarterly Revietv, vol. 95 (Sept. 1854), p. 330 ff. 

Quinones de Benavente, J. Discurso de la Campana de Vilila in 
Diocesi Caesaraustana in Hispania. Madrid, 1625. 4to. 

Raven, Rev. J. J. The Bells of England. (Methuen's Antiquary's 
Series.) London, 1906. 

Recueil sur les Cloches. See Carre. 

Reimann, J. De Campanis earumque Origine, vario Usu, Abusu, et 
Juribus. Eisenach, 1679. 4to. 

Robinson, Rev. F. E. Among the Bells ; the ringing career of F. E. R. 
Guildford, 1909. Pp. 637. 

Rocca, A. De Campanis Commentarius. Rome, 161 2. 4to. (In- 
cluded in his Thesaurus Antiquitatum, t. i. 155-196. Rome, 


Rock, D. The Church of our Fathers. New edition, 1903-05. Four 

vols. : i. 60; ii. 372 sqq. ; iii. 81, 365 ; iv. 166, 178, 179, 182. 
*Roujon, — . Traite des Harmoniques et de la Fonte des Cloches. 

Paris, 1765. 8vo. 
Saponti, G. M. Notificazione per la solenne Benedizione della nuova 

Campana da collocarsi nella metropolitana di S. Lorenzo. 

Geneva, 1750. 
Sauveterre, — . Sur le symbolisme de la Cloche. Paris, 1883. 

Pp. 525. 8vo. 
Scholefield, D. Supplement to the Clavis. Huddersfield, 1853. 

Bell Ringers' Companion. Huddersfield, 1870. 

Schryver, S. de. Quelques anciennes Cloches de l'Eglise. Brussels, 

Secquet, J. M. Observations sur la Metal des Cloches. Paris, 

1801. 8vo. 
Shaepkens, A. Des Cloches et de leur Usage. Brussels, 1857. 8vo. 
Shipway, W. Campanologia, or Universal Instructor in the Art of 

Ringing. London, 1813-16 ; new edition, 1885-86. 
Simpson, Rev. A. B. Why Bells Sound out of Tune. London, 

Skeffington, 1897. Pp. 40. 8vo. 
Smith, W., and Cheetham, S. Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. 

Article Bells. London, 1876. 8vo. 
Snowdon, J. W. Standard Methods in the Art of Change Ringing. 

London, 1881. 

Rope-Sight ; an Introduction to the Art of Change Ringing. 

Leeds, 1879-1883. 

" Grandsire " Method, peals, and history. London, 1888. Pp. 

202. 8vo. 

Sottanstall, W. Elements of Campanologia. Huddersfield, 1867. 

Sperling, J. H. See Ecclesiologist. 

[Stedman, Fabian.] Tintinnalogia or the Art of Ringing, by a Lover 

of the Art. London, 1668. (See for further details Ellacombe, 

Bells of the C/utrch, p. 296.) 

New edition, anonymous, 167 1. 

(See also Campanalogia, Jones, Monk, Ti/itintialogia, White.) 
Stockfletus, H. A. Dissertatio de Campanarum Usu. Altdorf, 

1665. 8vo. 
Storius, G. M. De Campanis Templorum. Leipzig, 1692. 4to. 
Straub, M. l'Abbe A. Notice sur deux Cloches Anciennes d'Obernai. 

Strassburg, i860. 
Suarez, F. Defensio Fidei Cathol., ii. cap. 16, de Benedictione 

Campanarum. Mainz, 1630. Fol. 
*Sulger, A. Annales Monasterii Zwifaltensis O.S.B. Pt. ii., pp. 27, 46, 

t6o, 162. Augsburg, 1698. 4to. 
*Tansur, W. Elements of Music, chap. x. (Changes, Chimes, and 

Tuning of Bells). London, 1772. 8vo. 
Thackrah, B. The Art of Change Ringing. Dewsbury, 1852. 
*Thiers, G. B. Des Cloches. Paris, 1602-19. i2mo. 


*Thiers, J. B. Traite des Cloches. Paris, 1721. 121110. 

TintinncUogia. See Stedman, White. 

Troyte, C. A. W. Change-Ringing. London, 1869. 2nd edition, 

Tvack, Rev. G. S. A Book about Bells. Hull, 1898. 
Tyssen. See Daniel-Tyssen. 
Uldall, F. Danmarks Middelalderlige Kirkeklokker. Copenhagen, 

1906. Pp. 327. 4to. 
Walters, H. B. Church Bells. (Mowbray's Arts of the Church Series.) 

Oxford, 1908. 
White, I. Tintinnalogia or the Art of Ringing, improved edition. 

[1700.] 121110. 
Wigram, W. Change-Ringing disentangled. London, 1880 (2nd 

WiLLiETTi, C. Ragguaglio delle Campane di Viliglia. Rome, 1601. 

Wion, A. Lignum Vitae. 2 pt. Venice, 1595. 4to. 

* De Campanarum Usu. 1665. i2mo. 

* Wolfe, — . Address on the Science of Campanology. London, 185 1. 
Wolfius, J. Lectiones Memorabiles, i. 117, 248; ii. 593. Lauingen, 

1600. Fol. 
Zech, F. S. De Campanis et Instruments Musicis. 


Bedfordshire. T. North, F.S.A., The Church Bells of Bedfordshire. 

London, Elliot Stock, 1883. 
Berkshire. Berks., Bucks., and Oxon. Archaeol. Journal, Vols, ii., iii., 
v. (1896-99). (A few parishes only.) 
Bell-foundries. Victoria County Hist, of Berks., ii. p. 412. 
Buckinghamshire. A. H. Cocks, M.A., The Church Bells of 
Buckinghamshire. Norwich and London, Jarrold, 1897. 
Bell-foundries. Victoria County Hist, of Bucks., ii. p. 116. 
Cambridgeshire. Rev. J. J. Raven, D.D., The Church Bells of 
Cambridgeshire, 1st edition, 1869; 2nd edition, 1881, with supple- 
ment, 1882. Cambridge, Deighton & Bell. (Published by the 
Camb. Antiq. Soc.) 
J. W. Clark, The Bells of King's College, Cambridge, in Camb. 
Antiq. Soc. Communications, iv. p. 223 ff. 
Cheshire. J. P. Earwaker, A History of East Cheshire (Hundred of 
Macclesfield). Vols, i.-ii., 1877-1880. 
Chetham Society's Publications, N.S., No. 32 (1894). (Sir S. 

Glynne's Church notes, with bell-inscriptions added.) 
Chester St. Michael. Chesh. Arch, and Hist. Soc. Journ., N.S., 
iv. p. 186. 


Bell-founders. Lane, and Chesh. Hist. Soc. Trans., N.S., vi. 

(xlii.), 1890, p. 161 ff. 
Cheshire Courant, 6th May 1908. 
Cornwall. E. H. W. Dunkin, The Church Bells of Cornwall. Derby, 
Bemrose & Sons, 1878. (Reprinted from the Reliquary, Vol. 
xiv. ff.) 
Cumberland. Rev. H. Whitehead in Cumb. and Westm. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., Vols, vi.-xiv. (1 883-1 897). (Carlisle and Leath 
Wards, Brampton Deanery and other parishes ; Keswick Town 
Hall bell ; interrupted by author's death.) 
See also C. A. Parker, in op. a'l., N.S., ii. p. 99. 
Derbyshire. L. Jewitt in Reliquary, Vols, xiii.-xix., xxi. (old 
Rev. J. C. Cox, The Churches of Derbyshire, 4 vols., 1875-1879. 
Derby, St. Peter. Derbysh. Arch, and Nat. Hist. Soc, xxi. p. 90. 
Bell-founders. Reliquary, xvi. p. 141 ff. 
Devonshire. Rev. H. T. Ellacombe, The Church Bells of Devon 
(with supplement, Bells of the Church, see above). Exeter Dioc. 
Archit. Soc, N.S., i., 1867. 
Dorset. Rev. J. J. Raven, D.D., The Church Bells of Dorset. (Re- 
printed from Trans. Dorset Nat. Hist. Field Club, xxiii.-xxvi., 
L. B. Clarence in op. cit., xix. (1898) p. 25 ff. 
Durham. R. Blair in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1st series, Vols, i.-iv. (1883-1890). Notes 
giving inscriptions on most of the bells in the county. 
Essex. Rev. C. Deedes and H. B. Walters, The Church Bells of 
Essex. Privately printed, 1909. 
See also Essex Review, 1 892-1 898. 
Gloucestershire. Rev. H. T. Ellacombe, The Church Bells of 
Gloucestershire, with Supplement (Trans. Exeter Dioc. Archit. 
Soc, N.S., iv., 1877). 
H. B. Walters in Bristol and Glouc Arch. Soc. Trans., xviii. 

p. 218 ff., xx. p. 222 ff., xxx. p. no ff. 
Bell-founders. Victoria County Hist, of Gloucs., ii. p. 205. 
Hampshire. Victoria County Hist, of Hants, Vols, ii.-v., 1903-1912. 
(Some notes on the bells under each parish.) 
Winchester. Rev. A. D. Hill, The Church Bells of Winchester. 
Winchester, 1877. 
Herefordshire. Trans. Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, 1892, p. 293. 
Archaeol. Survey of Heref. (Mediaeval Period), by Bevan and 
Davies, 1896. (A few notes.) 
C. Reade, Memorials of Old Herefordshire. (Chapter by H. W. 
Phillott.) London, Bemrose, 1904. 
Hertfordshire. T. North and J. C. L. Stahlschmidt, The Church 

Bells of Hertfordshire. London, Elliot Stock, 1886. 
Huntingdonshire. Rev. T. M. N. Owen, The Church Bells of 
Huntingdonshire. Norwich and London, Jarrold, 1899. 


Ke?it. J. C. L. Stahlschmidt, The Church Bells of Kent. London, 

Elliot Stock, 1887. 
Lancashire. Chetham Society's Publications, N.S., No. 27 (1893). 
(Sir S. Gl> nne's notes, with bell-inscriptions added.) 
Victoria County Hist, of Lanes., Vols, iii.-vii. (A few notes.) 
Furness. H. Gaythorpe in Trans. Barrow Field Club, iii. pp. 

100-117, xvii. passim (1879-1882 and 1902-1904). 
Id. in Cumb. and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., N.S., ii. p. 282 ff. 
Manchester Cathedral. Lanes, and Chesh. Antiq. Soc. Trans., 

xvii. p. 75. 
Whalley Abbey. Proc. Soc. Antiqs., xv. p. 334. 
Leicestershire. T. North, The Church Bells of Leicestershire. 

Leicester, S. Clarke, 1896. 
Lincolnshire. T. North, The Church Bells of Lincolnshire, 1882. 
Middlesex and London. Bell-founders. H. B. Walters in Trans. St. 
Paul's Eccles. Soc, vi. (1907) p. 101 ff., and J. C. L. 
Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells and London Bell-founders 
(London, E. Stock, 1885). Also Victoria County Hist, of 
Middlesex, ii. p. 165. 
See also the various local histories. 
Monmouthshire. J. A. Bradney, Hist, of Monmouthshire (in pro- 
gress). A few inscriptions given. 
Norfolk. J. L'Estrange, The Church Bells of Norfolk. Norwich, 

Northamptonshire. T. North, The Church Bells of Northamptonshire. 
Leicester, S. Clarke, 1878. 
S. Madge, Moulton Church and its Bells, 1895 (with biblio- 
graphies, &c). 
Northants Notes and Queries, N.S., i. (1906) p. 237. 
Bell-founders. Vict. County Hist, of Northants, ii. p. 307. 
Northumberland. R. Blair in Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries of 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1st series, Vols, i.-iv. (1883- 1890). Notes 
on inscriptions of most of the bells. 
Nottinghamshire. W. P. W. Phillimore in Reliquary, Vols, xiii., xix., 
xx. (Chiefly Rushcliffe Hundred.) 
Godfrey, Notes on Nottinghamshire Churches, Vols, i.-ii., 1S87- 

1907. (Rushcliffe and Bingham Hundreds.) 
Rev. J. J. Raven in Arch. Journal, lix. p. 93. 
Thoroton Soc. Trans, (sundry notes on bells). 
Bell-founders. Victoria County Hist, of Notts., ii. p. 367. 
Oxfordshire. See Lukis, Church Bells, p. 89 ff. 
Rutland. T. North, The Church Bells of Rutland, 18S0. 
Shropshire. H. B. Walters, The Church Bells of Shropshire, in 
Trans. Shropsh. Arch, and Nat. Hist. Soc, 3rd series, Vols, 
ii.-x. (1902-1910), and 4th series, i. (191 1). 
Somerset. Rev. H. T. Ellacombe, The Church Bells of Somerset, 
with supplement, 1875. (Exeter Dioc Archit. Soc Trans., N.S., 
iii., 1873.) 


Bell-founders. Victoria County Hist, of Somerset, ii. p. 431. 
Staffordshire. C. Lynam, The Church Bells of Staffordshire, 188.7. 
Suffolk. Rev. J. J. Raven, The Church Bells of Suffolk. Norwich, 

Jarrold, 1890. 
Surrey. J. C. L. Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells and London Bell- 
founders. London, E. Stock, 1885. 
Croydon Hospital. Reliquary, N.S., 1906, p. 29. 
Sussex. A. D. Tyssen, The Church Bells of Sussex, 1864. (Re- 
printed from Sussex Arch. Collections, Vol. xvi.) 
R. G. Rice, Richard Eldridge of Horsham (Sussex Arch. Collec- 
tions, xxxi. p. 81 ff.). 
Warwickshire. Rev. H. T. Tilley and H. B. Walters, The Church 
Bells of Warwickshire. Birmingham, Cornish, 19 10. 
See also H. T. T. in Trans. Birm. and Midi. Inst., ix. (1878) p. 

10 ff., and xviii. (1892) p. 14 ff. 
Bell-founders. Vict. County Hist, of Warwick, ii. p. 206. 
Westmorelatid. Cumb. and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., vi. p. 83. 
Wiltshire. Rev. W. C. Lukis, An Account of Church Bells, 1857. 
(Chiefly those round Salisbury, Devizes, and Marlborough.) 
History of Salisbury Bell-foundry. Journal of Brit. Archaeol. Assocn., 

141-150. London, 1859. 
Salisbury Cathedral. Wilts. Arch. Mag., xxviii. p. 108. 
MS. Collections by J. R. Jerram, Brit. Mus., Add. MSS. 37,398. 
Woirestershire. H. B. Walters, paper on The Church Bells of 
Worcestershire, in Assoc. Archit. Socs. Reports, xxv., 1901, p, 

549 ff- 
Bell-founders. Id. in Arch. Journal, lxiii. p. 187. 
See also Vict. County Hist, of Worcs., Vol. ii., and Dr Prattinton's 
MS. Notes in library of Society of Antiquaries (Parishes). 
Yorkshire — E. Riding. W. C. Boulter in Yorks. Arch. Journal, ii. pp. 
82, 216, iii. pp. 26, 403. 
G. R. Park, Church Bells of Holderness, 1898. 
N. Riding. See Proc. Soc. Antiqs. of Newcastle, 1st series, Vols, 
H. B. MacCall, Richmondshire Churches (1910). 
IV. Riding. J. E. Poppleton in Yorks. Arch. Journal, xvi. p. 

46, xvii. pp. 1, 192, 434. 
York. G. Benson, The Bells of the Ancient Churches of York. 

York, 1885. 
Bell-founders. Benson in York Philos. Soc. Report for 1898 and 
Assoc. Archit. Socs. Reports, xxvii. p. 623 ff. 
Poppleton, in Yorks. Arch. Journal, xviii. p. 88 ff. 
Victoria County Hist, of Yorks., ii. p. 449 ft 


Early Bells. Archaeologia Cambrensis, iii. pp. 230, 359 ; 4th series, 
ii. p. 271 ff. (and other reff. given in Chapter I.). 
Montgomeryshire Collections, xxv. p. 327 ff. 


Mediaeval Bells. Archaeologia Cambrensis, 4th series, ix. p. 264 ft. 

(J. J. Raven). 
Breconshire. J. T. Evans, The Church Plate of Breconshire, 19 12. 
Radnorshire. J. T. Evans, The Church Plate of Radnorshire, 19 10. 
Nicholaston, Glamorgan (Flemish bell). Arch. Cambrensis, 6th series, 

viii. p. 149. 


Early Bells. See references given in Chapter I. 

Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot., xxviii. p. 90, xxx. p. 338. 
Mediaeval and Later Bells. Archaeological Journal, xlix. pp. 13, 

329 (J. J. Raven and J. Bain). 
Kincardineshire. F. C. Eeles, The Church Bells of Kincardine- 
shire. Aberdeen, 1897. (Contains much information about 
Scotch bells in general.) 


See references given in Chapter I. 



OF the various devices for the production of musical sound 
few have obtained such wide-world acceptance as the 
percussion of bells. Not only are they almost invariably used 
throughout the Christian Church, but they are a prominent 
feature in the religious worship and ceremonial of other peoples, 
particularly of the followers of Buddha. The most notable 
exception is formed by the Mohammedans, who not only dis- 
allow their use among themselves, but in 1453 issued an 
edict forbidding their use by the newly-conquered Orthodox 
Christians, who were compelled to substitute for them plates 
of metal or wood, to be struck with a hammer. Hence the 
use of such plates, called a-q/jLavrpa, is not uncommon in Greek 
churches at this day, in countries subject to the Ottoman 
dominion. 1 

The word " bell " itself is said to be derived from its sound, 2 
and to be connected with " bellow " and " bleat," and the Latin 
word balare, used of the cry of certain animals — we may 
compare its use for the " belling " of hounds or of stags. In 
Latin there are various names for this instrument, which must 
be presently discussed ; the French and Germans use " cloche " 
and " Glocke " respectively, a word represented by the Low 
Latin clocca, which appears in old Irish as clog. Our word 
" clock " of course comes from the same source, and it is 
interesting to note that the word is identical with our " cloak," 
which suggests the shape of the bell, or rather that of the 
mould in which it is cast. Modern bell-founders speak of the 

1 Cf. Recueil curie 11 x et idifiant sur les Cloches (1757), p. 25. 

- It must be remembered that "belfry" has nothing to do with "bell" 
etymologically, but comes to us through the French beffroi from a mediaeval 
word meaning " pent-house." 


mould as Che' "cope," which again suggests a comparison with 
theibrnj of a garment. 

The Greek k«S(ov was probably only a small hand-bell, cor- 
responding at best in size to the modern sheep-bell or cow- 
bell ; many examples of these in bronze may be seen in our 
museums, and there is one in the British Museum, in form 
something like a high conical cap with handle at top, which 
was found on the site of the sanctuary of the Cabeiric deities 
at Thebes in Greece, and bears engraved on it a dedication 
by one Pyrrhias (2). They have also been found in Egypt, and 
at Nimrud in Assyria. The former when analysed were found 
to contain ten parts of copper to one of tin. 1 The only word 
occurring in any frequency in classical Latin is tintinnabulum, 
which is used by Plautus, Suetonius, and Juvenal, and clearly 
means a small tinkler of the kind already mentioned. But there 

is another allusion in one of Martial's epigrams 

(xiv. 163): 

" sonet aes thermarum" 

referring to the ringing of a bell in the public 
baths when it was time to give up ball-playing 
and go into the bath. Here the word aes is of 
course merely the generic name for copper or 
bronze, and in all probability the " bell " was 
more like a gong or a cymbal. Lucian " men- 
tions a Ki»8wv used for waking a household in the 
morning. Tintinnabulum is clearly onoma- 
topoeic, and suggests a comparison with our 

In the early Middle. Ages two words are in 
common use, campana and no/a, neither being found in this 
sense in good Latin, though the former has survived (in a com- 
pounded form) down to the present day, and in the later Middle 
Ages became the recognised word for a bell, as is indicated by 
its constant use in inscriptions. It is familiar to us in the word 
campanology (or perhaps more correctly campanalogy) which is 
defined by Murray 3 as "the subject of bells ; detailed examina- 
tion of the principles of bell-founding ; bell-ringing, etc." Hence 
also the word campanologist? usually denoting one who studies 
bell-inscriptions and stamps from the comparative point of 
view. This sense is quite modern and only dates from the 

1 Ellacombe, Bells of the Churchy p. 300. 

2 De Mercede Conductis, 24. 3 New Eng. Diet. 

4 The first use of the word seems to be in Lukis' Church Bells (1857), 

Greek bell, in- 
scribed, 4th 
century B.C. 
(Brit. Mus.) 

Historical introduction 3 

time when bell-archaeology first became a science ; in reference 
to the science of bell-ringing the word is two hundred years 
older, probably owing its origin to Fabian Stedman, whose 
Campanalogia (1677) is cited as an authority for the use. Nola 
is probably onomatopoeic, and cognate with knell and knoll ; 
it is generally supposed to denote a small bell, as opposed to 
signum, used in mediaeval times for one of great size. Campana, 
though a word of more general use, is also usually confined to 
large bells. Another word of the same import is squilla 
( = " skillet "), referring to the shape. Hieronymus Magius in his 
treatise De Tintinnabulis (1608) 1 gives the following list of 
names of bells, with definitions : — 

(1) Tintinnabulutn or tinniolum, for a dormitory or refectory. 

(2) Petasius (from Gk. Treraa-o^), a large broad-rimmed bell. 
(3)' Codou, a Greek hand-bell. 

(4) Nola, a small bell used in the choir. 

(5) Campana, a large bell used in the tower. 

(6) Squilla, a little shrill bell. 

Other words found are cymbalum, campanella, nolula or dupla 
(for a clock), and signum. - 

The common use of the two words campana and nola led 
to the theory that they had a geographical origin, and that 
bells were first invented or used at the town of Nola in 
Campania, Italy. It was further alleged that they were first 
used by Paulinus, who was bishop of that town about 400 AD., 
and that he was therefore responsible for the first use of those 
names. But it is a significant fact that Paulinus, in describing 
his church, does not mention bells. There seems to be better 
authority for the statement that Sabinianus (Pope about A.D. 
600) first gave the sanction of the Church to the use of bells. 3 
This last view might receive some support from the story (if 
credible) that when King Clothaire was besieging the town of 
Sens in 610, his army was terrified at hearing the sound of 
the great bell {signum) of St. Stephen's Church, when it was 
rung as an alarm, and beat a hasty retreat. The story rests 
on the assumption that bells were then so little known that 
even an army might be terrified on first hearing their sound. 4 

Mediaeval writers, ignoring the different quantities of Nola 
and nola, confidently assert, as does Martene (1736-37), 5 ' Nola 

1 See also Durandus, Rationale, p. 93 (transl. Webb and Neale). 

2 Encycl. Brit. u , iii. p. 687. 3 Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 1. 

4 Ellacombe, Bells of the Churchy p. 453 ; Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 1. 

5 De Ant. Mon. Ritibus, quoted by Bloxam, Gothic Architecture, ii. p. 
23 ff. See also J. S. Durantus, De ritibus cedes, cathol. (Paris, 1632), i. 22, 
p. 210. 


est signum seu campana, a Nola civitate in qua primus cam- 
panarum usus inventus est,' or as Walfridus Strabo (about 
1250), ' unde et a Campania . . . campanae dicuntur ; minora 
vero, quae et a sono tintinnabula vocantur, Nolas appellant, a 
Nola eiusdem civitate Campaniae, ubi eadem vasa primo sunt 
commentata.' At any rate there is here no mention of Paulinus ; 
and Folydore Virgil is even more cautious, and states that no 
one knows who invented bells. Gerard Voss says that the 
whole arose from a misinterpretation of Isidorus, Bishop of 
Seville (who wrote in the seventh century). 1 This writer in his 
Etymologia Linguae Latinae (1662) suggests that campana is 
" forte a Kairav-q " (sc. a cap of skin, with reference to the form of 
a bell). As Dr. Raven suggests,' 3 the word is quite likely to 
come from a root KAP or KEP (with an indeterminate vowel 
sound), signifying anything hollow. 

We cannot then state with anything like definiteness when 
bells were first introduced into the Christian Church ; but it is 
certain that the larger type of bell with which we are familiar 
was not introduced until after some centuries of Christianity. 
In the earliest days of the Church, when congregations 
were small, and often had to hold their services in makeshift 
surroundings or clandestine refuges, no signal for summoning 
them together was either necessary or desirable. And when 
the first missionaries began to traverse our islands, prior to the 
organisation of dioceses and parishes and the erection of 
churches, they probably found that a small portable hand-bell 
served their purpose, to summon a scanty and scattered con- 

The earliest bells of which any evidence can be traced in 
these islands were of two kinds : the closed or globular type, 
known as a crotal (Gk. KporaXov)? and corresponding to the little 
jingling bells placed round the necks of animals ; and the open 
type, as found among the remains of Oriental and classical 
nations, the prototype of the later mediaeval church bell. Of 
the latter, with which alone we need here be concerned, the 
earliest kinds were made, as sheep-bells and cow-bells are 
at this day, simply by riveting or welding together sheets of 
metal. The usual method was to take two quadrilateral pieces 
of iron, bend the edges so as to correspond, and rivet them 
together in the form of a truncated wedge ; they were then 

1 Etym., xvi. 20. He mentions aes campanum., derived from Campania, 
and is probably quoting Pliny's account of the different kinds of bronze 
(Nat. Hist., xxxiv. 95). 

2 Ch. Bells of Car/ids., p. 182. 

3 Bells of the Church, p. 273 ff. 



clipped in molten copper or bronze to give them a musical tone. 1 
The tone of these sheet-metal bells is poor in the extreme, and 
they were probably soon superseded by bells of cast metal, and 
of the form already familiar to pagan nations both Eastern and 
Western. An early bell of this latter type is figured by Strutt 2 
from a manuscript of the eleventh century in the British 
Museum (5), and is remarkable for its ornate form; it has 
a hemispherical head with cannons in the form of a triple 
loop, a straight waist, and a narrow sound-bow round which is 
a cable pattern ; the body of the bell is ornamented with rows 
of studs. 3 Canon Ellacombe compares with it a hand-bell in 

Early hand-bell 

Early hand-bell 
(Boulogne Museum) 

the Museum at Boulogne (5), but the latter appears to be of a 
more advanced type. 

" The small ancient quadrangular portable hand-bells of iron 
or bronze," says Westwood, 4 '' are some of the most interesting 
objects of the earl)' Christian period. The notices which have 
been collected together relative to them, clearly shew that they 
were regarded with the like feeling of veneration in Scotland, 
Ireland, and Wales, wherever the British Church was maintained." 
The Welsh and Irish actually believed that bells could perform 
miracles and cures, and that they even had powers of loco- 

1 Raven, Bells of England, p. 17. 

- Manners and Customs (1775), '• P- 10 ^ pi- 2 °> ^S- 5 > Cotton MS. Tib. 
C. vi. f. 17. 

:! Bells of the Church, p. 304. 4 Arch. Cambr., iii. p. 230. 


motion ; this belief survives in some degree throughout the 
Middle Ages (cf. p. 261, and their use in exorcising cere- 
monies). In 622 St. Teilo, on his consecration as Bishop of 
Llandaff, was presented with a bell which " exceeded every 
organ in sweetness of sound " and had various miraculous pro- 
perties. 1 The same authority also mentions other bells of the 
same kind as existing in Wales. In the history of the early 
missioners of the Irish Church similar bells played a prominent 
part, including the iron bell of St. Patrick himself, the oldest 
relic of Celtic Christianity.^ To quote Giraldus again : " Both the 
laity and clergy in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales held in such 
veneration certain portable bells, that they were more afraid of 

Early Welsh bell from Llangwynodl, Carnarvonshire 

swearing falsely by them than by the Gospels, because of some 
hidden and miraculous power with which they were gifted." 

Examples of these bells have been found in various parts of 
Great Britain and Ireland. One was dug up about 1800 at 
Llangenny near Crickhowell, of the quadrangular form, measur- 
ing \2\ inches in height. Another from the church of Llang- 
wynodl in Carnarvonshire (6), was exhibited to the Cambrian 
Archaeological Association in 1849. 3 It was remarkable as 

1 Girald. Cambrens., ed. Brewer, ii. p. 158; Ellacombe, Bells of the 
Church, p. 310. So had the bells of St. Illtyd and St. Fillan (T. Dyer, 
Church Lore Gleanings, p. 78). 

2 See Wakeman, Handbook of Irish Antiquities (1903), p. 346. 

3 Arch. Cambr., iii. p. 359 ; cf. Reliquary, N.S. vii. p. 184 ; for other early 
Welsh bells see Arch. Cambr., 4th ser., ii. p. 271 ff., and Montgomeryshire 
Collections, xxv. p. 327. 


possessing a handle terminating in two rudely- fashioned swans' 
or serpents' heads, such as are found in early Irish and Anglo- 
Saxon MSS., and the form and method of attachment of the 
clapper are also of interest. It was used in recent times to be 
rung before a funeral. Another very curious bell, exhibited 
at the same meeting, was found at Marden in Herefordshire, in 
a pond near the church. 1 It was of oval rather than oblong 
section, and its height was 12 inches. It was thought to be 
more likely a relic of the ancient British than of the Anglo- 
Saxon Church. Others from Anglesey are illustrated by 
Ellacombe, 2 together with specimens found or preserved in 
Scotland, 3 some of which 
have legendary associa- 
tions with St. Columba, 
St. Fillan, and other 

But the Irish hand- 
bells, some fifty of which 
are still in existence, are 
of much greater interest. 4 
There are eighteen in the 
Museum of the Royal 
Irish Academy alone, and 
several also in the British 
Museum. As already 
noted, they are known as 
Clogs, from Low Latin 
clocca (a word only applied 
to small bells). One of 
the most interesting is the 
Clog beaniiiglitc or Blessed 

Bell of Armagh (7), which is unique in bearing an inscription 
incised on its face in Erse : " A prayer upon Cumascach son 
of Ailill." This Cumascach died in 904. Being of rounded 
rather than quadrangular form, it would on other grounds have 
been assigned to this period. A similar bell, but more angular 
in form, at Stival in Brittany (8), also has an inscription 
"ITRTVR FECISTI," and is thought to be of Irish make. 

1 Cf. Arch. J <>i /ni., v. p. 330. 2 Bells of the Church, p. 317 ft". 

3 See also lllusir. Cat. of Arch. Mus. Edinb., 1856. 

4 On these bells and their covers see Miss Margaret Stokes, Early 
Christian Art in Ireland, p. 58 ft. ; Bells of the Church, p. 330 ft. ; Romilly 
Allen in Reliquary, N.S., vii. p. 181, with bibliography; Arch. Cam&r., iv. 
p. 167 ft. ; Rohault de Fleury, La A 1 esse, vi. p. 147 ft. For the bell of St. 
Patrick see Stokes, op. at., fig. 18, and W. Reeves in Trans. Roy. Irish 
Acad, xxvii. (1877-1886). 


The Bell of Armagh 


The " Black Bell of St. Patrick " already mentioned still exists 
in Ireland, but in a very fragmentary condition. 

A very fine bell found at Cashel in 1849 is now in the 
possession of Lord Dunraven, and a fellow to it was found at 
Bangor, County Down. Both are of bronze, very carefully cast, 

and ornamented with a 
large incised cross, while 
round the base are bor- 
ders of various patterns, 
elaborately designed. 
The) r are assigned to the 
seventh or eighth century. 
Some twenty-four in all 
of these Irish bells are 
described and illustrated 
by Ellacombe, 1 all similar 
in type to the above. 
He also gives a repre- 
sentation of a sculptured 
relief from Glendalough, 
assigned to the eighth 
century, which formed a 
tympanum in the Priest's 
Church, and represents 
an ecclesiastic holding a 
sacred bell. 

Another group of 
ancient Irish hand-bells, 
from their great antiquity 
and traditional associa- 
tions, were regarded with 
such veneration that they 
were enclosed in cases or shrines of costly materials and 
elaborate workmanship (9). They illustrate the skill of the 
Irish craftsman in the art of ecclesiastical ornamentation at a 
very early period. 2 

Large bells, such as we are now familiar with, and bell-towers 
with large belfries to contain them, certainly came in with the 
Saxon period, though it must be recognised that none of the 
towers now existing in England are older than the tenth 
century. 3 At Brixworth, Northants, for instance, only the base 

1 Loc. tit. 2 Bells of the Church, p. 353 if. 

3 Cf. Baldwin Brown, Arts in Early England, ii. pp. 246, 286 ; Bond, 
Gothic Architecture in England, p. 586. 

Early bell from Stival, Brittany 

Early Irish bell in ornamental case. (From Ellacombe) 

1 1 

Man playing with hammers on an octave of bells 
(From the Worms Bible, 1148) 


of the tower is of an earlier date. That bells were in use in 
these early days is also implied by the story told by Bede 1 that 
when the Abbess Hilda died at Whitby in 68o, Begu, who was 
thirteen miles away at Hackness, heard notum campanae sonum 
quo convocari solebant cum quis eorum de saeculo fuisset evocatus, 
i.e., she heard the death-knell which was always rung when 
any inmate of the monastery was called out of the world. 
Tatwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, 731-734, speaks of a bell 
superis suspensus in auris, " hanging high in the air." St. 
Egbert, Archbishop of York, in 750 gave directions, ut omnes 
sacerdotes Jioris competentibus did et noctis sativum sonent ecclesi- 
arum signa ; i.e., priests were to ring their church bells at 
the proper hours of day and night. We note here the use of 
the word signum, implying a bell of some size. 

St. Dunstan in 977 drew up an elaborate set of rules for 
ringing the canonical hours in monasteries. 3 The rule for 
nocturne is as follows : — 

" Donee pueri introeant ecclesiam, unum continuatim pulsetur tintinna- 
bulum. Finitis vero tribus orationibus a pueris, sonetur secundum signum, 
facto signo a priore iterum autem pulsatis reliquis signis, atque finitis 
psalmis incipiant nocturnum." 

"Until the acolytes enter the church, let one little bell be rung con- 
tinually. When they have finished three prayers, let the second large bell 
be sounded, and at a sign from the Prior, the other large bells shall be struck 
a second time, and after the psalms they shall begin Nocturne." 

The rest are to the like effect. In the reign of William I., 
Archbishop Lanfranc issued similar rules for Benedictine 
monasteries. 3 

Croyland Abbey, about the year 960, was presented with a 
great bell named Guthlac by its abbot, Turketyl, and six more 
were subsequently added, bearing the names of Bartholomew, 
Betelin, Turketyl, Tatwin, Pega, and Bega. 4 The chronicle of 
the pseudo - Ingulphus says, "nee erat tunc tanta consonantia 
campanarum in tota Anglia," implying the existence of other 
peals. These bells, unfortunately, perished by fire in 1091, in 
which year it may be noted that we hear of a gift to the Abbey 
of two squillae or hand bells by Fergus of Boston, who is 
described as a brasiarius or " brasyer." This is the earliest 
recorded name of an English bell-founder. 5 

Bells were also cast by St. Dunstan for Canterbury and 

1 EccL Hist., iv. 23, ed. Mayor and Lumby (1879), p. 140. 

2 Migne's Patrologia, vol. 137, p. 480. 
; Migne, op. cit., vol. 150, p. 446. 

4 It must, however, be remembered that we have no trustworthy records 
of Croyland Abbey before 105 1 (cf. Vict. County Hist, of Lines, ii. p. 205). 

5 See below, p. 182, for instances of the word "brazier" in this sense. 



Abingdon in the tenth century, and by St. Ethelwold for the 
latter abbey. Canute gave two bells to Winchester in 1035, 
and similar gifts were made by the Archbishop of York. An 
early inventory of Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire, about 920, 
gives " iiij hand bellan and vj hangende bellan." 

Some interesting representations of bells in early manuscripts 
belong to this or a slightly later period. One from an eleventh- 
century MS. shows five bells suspended from an arched frame- 
work, and struck by a hammer ; 1 
but these are evidently of the 
tintinnabulum order, like modern 
musical hand-bells. Another (n), 
from the Worms Bible (1148), 2 
shows a figure striking with a 
hammer on eight bells, arranged 
to form a scale, with the notes 
marked on them. The familiar 
illustration of King David playing 
on bells (19), which often occurs as 
the initial letter of the 46th Psalm 
in later Psalters, is of the same 
type. 3 In the Chats worth Bene- 
dictional of St. Ethelwold, which 
dates from 980, and formerly be- 
longed to Hyde Abbey, Winchester, 
three bells are shown hanging in 
an open tower or turret (15). 4 It 
is worth noting that they are repre- 
sented as hemispherical in form. 
The representation of hand-bells in 
the Bayeux Tapestry is commented 
on elsewhere (pp. 160, 169) ; and we may also note here that on a 
Saxon cross at Win wick, Lancashire (14), a figure of a campan- 
arius or ringer in minor orders appears, vested in a camisia, and 
carrying a small bell of the tintinnabulum type in each hand. 5 

In the Norman period there are constant references to casting 
bells, and they are of increasing size and number. Prior Conrad 
gave to Canterbury Cathedral five large bells, which required 
respectively ten, ten, eleven, eight, and twenty-four men to ring ! 

1 See Didron, Annates Arch., iv. p. 97, fig. 31 (Coussemaker) ; Arch. 
Canibrensis, iv. p. 174 (Westwood) ; also illustrated by Ellacombe, Bells of 
the Church, p. 306, and North, English Bells, p. 4. 
• 2 Brit. Mus., Had. MSS. 2804,^01. 3/;. 
" E.g., Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 35,311, fol. 64^; Add. 30,405, 40/;; Cotton 

Saxon bell-ringer in minor orders 
(Win wick, Lanes.) 

(From Ellacombe) 

MSS. Aug. vi. 457^. 

4 Arxhaeologia, xxiv. pi. 3: 

'" Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 526. 


rrpltn utcumafcaeljclhrfpon 
(izb.\Lxnium [uAcaufuiqrc 
dr :j rh -j Lloc l in fc 

Saxon turret with two bells, from the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold (980) 


Later, a larger bell was given by Prior Wybert, which engaged the 
services of no less than thirty-two men. These statements may at 
first excite some surprise, but it must be remembered that these 
early bells were not hung like those of later date, with wheel and 
rope, but were worked by a treading-plank (see below, p. 79). 

At Exeter Cathedral in 1050 there were seven bells, to which 
Leofric added six on the removal of his bishopric thither from 
Crediton. In 1077 bells were placed in the towers of St. Albans 
Abbey by Paul of Caen, and two more by Lyolf, a thane. 1 These 
were blessed by Geoffrey of Monmouth when Bishop of St. 
Asaph, about 1160. Two bells were given to Lincoln Cathedral 
by Bishop Robert de Chesney (1148-67), and two more by 
Geoffrey Plantagenet, described as " campanas duas grandes, 
egregias atque sonoras." 

At Bury St. Edmunds a large bell or signum (corresponding 
to the French bourdoti) was procured between 1102 and 1107 for 
Abbot Robert by Godefridus, and was hung in the central tower 
of the Abbey. 2 According to tradition it was the largest bell in 
England, but it probably perished when the Abbe)' towers fell 
in 1 2 10. Another bell was made by Master Hugo between 1121 
and 1 148 for Abbot Anselm, and bore the inscription : — 

" Martiris Edmundi iussum decus hie ita fundi 
Anselmi donis donum manus aptat Hugonis.""' 

The inscription on Godefridus' bell was to the like effect, and 
gave the name of its maker as Hailficus, but its length of four 
hexameter lines seems at that date almost incredible. On the 
other hand long inscriptions are given as on other early bells, at 
Waverley Abbey (see below), Westminster Abbey, and elsewhere. 
To the time of Anselm also belongs the building of the bell- 
tower or Clocarium, to hold the great bells ; another bell for the 
central tower was given subsequently by Richard de Newport, 
and named after him. 4 

The thirteenth century brings us out of the region of the 
semi-mythical into the genuinely historical, and the various 
existing records are now supplemented by the actual presence 
in our steeples of bells which can be assigned to this period. 
Moreover, the archives of ecclesiastical and civil corporations 
yield evidence that the craft was becoming a recognised trade 
with its gilds, and names of regular bell-founders, sometimes 
holding important positions in their towns, enable us to trace 

1 Riley, Gcsta Abbatum Monaster!! S. Al/wni, in Chronicles and 
Memorials, i. p. 60. 

2 See M. R. James, The Church of St. Edmund at Bury (Camb. Antiq. 
Soc. Publ., xxviii.), p. 200, where its inscription is given, and also p. 144. 

:s James, op. cit., p. 199. l Op. at., p. 144. 


with some completeness the early history of certain great 
foundries. London, Bristol, Gloucester, King's Lynn, Worcester, 
Paignton in Devon, and other towns shew signs of activity 
before the century ends ; x and the monastic establishments 
provide further evidence. At Worcester Cathedral in 1220 the 
great bells were melted by William of Broadwas the sacrist, and 
being recast were consecrated by Bishop Blois in honour of 
Christ and His Mother ; and " Hauteclere " in honour of St. John 
the Evangelist. 2 Of these bells, one still exists at the present 
day, at Didlington in Norfolk, whither it was removed in 1869. 
It, however, bears no inscription. 

The Roll of Waverley Abbey tells us that in 1239 "was 
obtained the bigger bell of our house," whose name Mary can be 
known from these verses which are inscribed on that same bell : 

" Dicor nomine quo tu Virgo domestica Christi 
Sum Domini praeco cuius tutela fuisti." 

In the Close Rolls of Henry III.'s reign, preserved in the 
Record Office those relating to Westminster Abbey include an 
instruction to Edward Odom or Odson 3 in 1230 to make a 
bigger bell than those he had made in the previous year, and in 
the following year a further commission to the same effect was 
given to ' Edward of Westminster,' who may be the same person. 4 
At St. Albans, under Abbot Roger Norton (1260-90) there were 
cast " a great bell truly and a most sonorous one called by 
the name of Saint Amphibalus for tolling curfew daily," and 
others in honour of St. Alban and St. Katherine, under 
the superintendence of the Prior Sir John de Marins ; a bell 
named Mary had been previously consecrated some fifty years 
earlier. 5 

Great advances were also made in technical skill, both as 
regards the casting and hanging of bells. In a manuscript 
preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is 
a treatise of Henry III.'s reign by Walter de Odyngton, monk 
of Evesham, on the making of bells, their tuning, and proper 
proportions of weight and size. 6 Cannons and stocks were 
substituted for the treading-plank method (as previously used at 
Canterbury), as the earliest existing bells clearly shew. Thus we 

1 See Chap. IX. for further details. 

2 Noake, Worcestershire Nuggets ; p. 85. 

3 Apparently a misreading for "Edwardo Dom(ino) de Westmonasterio." 

4 See Toulmin Smith, English Gilds (Early Eng. Text. Soc, No. 40), 
p. 295. 

5 Riley, Chronicles and Memorials, i. pp. 286, 483 ; Stahlschmidt, Ch. 
Bells of Herts, p. 103. 

li Raven, Ch. Bells of Suffolk, p. 3 (see below, p. 34). 


ili mm 

— u 

J2 -fl 




get such instructions as those of Walter de Grey, Archbishop of 
York (1216-1255), and Robert Winchelsea, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury (1293-13 1 3) that every church should possess cauipauae 
magnae cum cordis suis (see below, p. 115). Rules and instruc- 
tions for ringers also become frequent, especially in monastic 
establishments. At Barnwell Priory, Cambridge, even in the 
twelfth century it was ordained that the sub-sacrist should signa 
pit I save, ad matutinas ct ad excitandos fratres no/am 1 pulsar e. In 
the reign of Richard I. the Gild of Saddlers in London were 
granted the right of ringing the bells of the neighbouring con- 
ventual church of St. Martin-le-Grand, on certain conditions. 2 
In 1254 the Brethren of the Gild of Westminster "who are 
appointed to ring the great bells," received an annual grant 
of iooj-. from Henry III., with other privileges. 3 This king 
had lately had new bells of great size made for the Abbey 

There are among the bells now existing in England three 
or four which evidence, internal or external, permits us to 
assign to the thirteenth century ; the number would probably 
be largely augmented if we might include the uninscribed bells 
of archaic form which are discussed elsewhere (p. 358), but 
in the case of these all evidence beyond that of shape is lacking. 
Some, like the bell from Worcester Cathedral {v. supra) certainly 
belong to this time ; others may be even earlier. 

The earliest bell in England bearing an actual date is at 
Claughton in Lancashire ; it has no inscription beyond the date 
(1296) in Roman letters (22) : — 

+ ANNO • DNI • M • CC • NONOG° • AI 

But there is one at Caversfield in Oxfordshire, 4 which must be 
nearly a century older. The inscription is in rude Roman or 
Saxon letters. 

HVQ • QARQAT • SIBILLA • Q • V(x)OR • El(VS) H(AEC) Tl(M) 

" In honour of God and St. Laurence, Hugh Gargate and 
Sibilla his wife had these bells erected." 

In the lower inscription, which is round the rim, the whole 
is set backwards, and some of the letters are badly or oddly 
formed ; for instance Q is used for G. As Hugh Gargate, the 

1 Sc. the little bell. 2 Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 492. 

3 Op. cit., p. 226 ; Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, p. 295. 

4 See Cocks, Cli. Bells of Bucks, p. 3. He is in error in stating that the 
bell has been recast. 










s u 




donor of this bell (and of its companion, recast in 1874), who 
was Lord of the Manor, died in 12 19, the bell must be dated in 
the first two decades of the century. Its shape is most remark- 
able, with the hemispherical crown, long straight sides, and 
narrow rim ; its tone is anything but musical. There is a 
blank bell of similar form preserved in the chancel of Snettisham 
Church, Norfolk (359). The only other mediaeval bell in England 
with an inscription entirely in Roman type is at Marton-cum- 
Grafton, Yorkshire, and this is probably somewhat later than 
the Caversfield bell. 

Next we have a bell at Chaldon, Surrey (19), the earliest 
known in which the lettering may be described as Gothic ; 
Stahlschmidt 1 considers it "not later than 1250, and from its 
archaic shape may well be much older." But in the light of 
evidence from other early bells it is more likely to belong to 
the second half of the century. 

There is in existence an interesting document of the year 
1 283, 2 relating to the casting of a bell for the town of Bridgwater, 
which is worth quoting here as illustrating the growth of the 
industry at that period. 

Brudgewauter. The Account of Richard Maydons, Philip Cresse Erl, 
Gilbert le Large, and Richard de Dunsterre, of all receipts, expenses, and 
deliveries about the making of a new bell there, in the year of the reign of 
King Edward, the twelfth. 

Receipts of Moneys : — 
To wit — The same answer for 8 It. \8s. \o\d. received from collections 
in the parish, together with donations from strangers. Also for 36.?. 2\d. 
received for three leaden vessels with 2 trivets, one bason with laver, pots, 
and brass that have been sold. Also, for 12 pence, received for a ring that 
was sold. Sum 10//. i6.v. \d. 

[Also "foreign receipts" 67s. id.] Sum total of receipts 14//. 35. 2d. 

Expenses : — 

They account for 896 pounds of copper bought (to wit, at five twenties 
to the hundred) of Robert le Spicer and Walter le Large, price 7 It. 17s. yl. 
Also for 40 pounds of brass, bought of Thomas le Spicer, 5^. Sd. Also for 
320 pounds of tin bought of Adam Palmere and Philip Crese Erl, 38^. Sd. 
Also for divers necessaries bought by Richard de Donsterre, Richard 
Maydons, and Philip Crese Erl, for repairs of the mould and founding of the 
bell, as set forth by schedule, 31J. 1 id. Also paid the master, in part payment 
of his wages, 40 shillings. 

Sum total of expenses, 31//. 13^. 6<l. And so they owe gs. 8^/. 

Many of the contributions were made in kind, i.e., 180 lbs. 
in pots, platters, etc., and 425 lbs. of metal from an old bell. 

1 Surrey Bells, p. 77. 

2 Notes (ind Queries, 5th Ser., iii. p. 77. Translation given by North, 
English Bells, p. 7. 



It is interesting to turn aside for a moment and compare with 
the English bells of this period what we know of their con- 

Bell from Fontenailles, Normandy, dated 1202 

temporaries on the Continent. In France the earliest records 
go back to the tenth century, 1 when rings of bells are known 

^ <^> ^» ^ ..., fiflallH' e-s 





nill l'Ttfr&i-llllllllliliii ■ 





-■1. ''UIIIIDIIIIIjllll'"' 
Lettering on the Fontenailles bell 

to have existed in various cathedral churches. Probably the 
earliest French bell now existing is one formerly at Fontenailles 

1 Raven, Bells of England, p. 43 ; Dergny, Les Cloches du Pays de 
Bray, p. 8. 


Early Italian bell, dated 1184 (Bargello Museum, Florence) 




/ i^ 












1 :^;A'v ■■'■ ■- 

in Normandy, now in the museum at Bayeux (24). 1 It is 
dated 1202, the lettering being of a very curious straggling 
double-lined type, something between Roman and Gothic ; an 
admirable reproduction is given by Mr. Lynam in his Stafford- 
shire book.'- Somewhat similar lettering appears on some 
early bells in England, some or all of which are foreign 
importations; they are described on p. 212. But it is pro- 
bable that this type of lettering was characteristic of all Con- 
tinental bells of this 
early period, for it is 
also found on one of 
theearliest bells known, 
in the Bargello Museum 
at Florence, which bears 
the date 1184(23). The 
bell has no inscription 
beyond the date, which 
is in much neater and 
more artistic type than 
the French bell. It is 
of a markedly cylindri- 
cal or " long-waisted " 
form ; but as this shape 
is characteristic of all 
Italian mediaeval bells, 
even down to the fif- 
teenth century, it must 
not be regarded as an 
exceptional feature. 
Another bell in the 
same museum bears the 
date 1249, and one in 
the leaning tower of 
Pisa is dated 1262. 3 
But these are far from 
being the oldest known 
bells in Italy, for there 
are two others at Pisa, 

dated respectively 1106 and 1154, 4 and Fleury mentions one of 
1 149 at Verona, one of 1 1 59 in Siena Cathedral/' and another of 
1 173 at Pisa. 

1 See Sauvageot in Dickon's Annates A/r/ieol., xxii. p. 218. Another of 
1273 at Moissac is described op. cit. xvi. p. 325. 

2 Plates 3<-z, 3/;. :; Notes and Queries, 3rd Ser. ii. p. 387. 
4 Ellacombe, Bells of the Churchy p. 4S0. •' La Messe, vi. p. 158. 


M ' -: '■ 

Twelfth-century bell at Smollerup, Denmark 
{From Uldalt) 


In Germany the oldest known bell is one at Ingensbach in 
Bavaria, dated 1144/and there is another of 1258 at Freiburg 
in the Black Forest. 2 In Denmark the earliest known dated bell 
is one of 1300 at Odense ; but F. Uldall in his admirable work 
on early Danish bells 3 also gives one at Smollerup, undated, but 
with an inscription in Saxon characters (27), which he assigns to 
the twelfth century. 

We do not intend now to carry the general history of English 
bells further than the point here reached, the beginning of the 
fourteenth century. It is a time when the industry became 
organised, and regular foundries had sprung up in most of the 
principal towns ; when bells began regularly to bear inscriptions 
and other forms of decoration which give a clue to their date, 
and the foundry whence they came ; in short, the subject now 
requires to be treated in a different manner. In subsequent 
chapters we shall deal, firstly, with the English foundries and 
founders of the pre-Reformation and post- Reformation periods ; 
secondly, with the bells themselves, their dedications, inscriptions, 
and decoration in general. Other chapters discuss the methods 
of casting, tuning, and hanging the bells, the way in which sound 
may be produced from them, and the different circumstances in 
which they are and have been used ; the history of losses and 
depredations in the sixteenth and subsequent centuries ; and, 
finally, the criteria by which the dates and foundries of existing 
bells may be ascertained. 

1 Ecclesiologist, xxviii. p. 364 ; Ellacombe, Somerset, Supplt., p. 132 ; 
Ounkin, Cornwall, p. 2. 

2 Tyssen, Sussex Bells, p. 3. 

3 Dan /narks Middelalderlige Kirke-Klokker (1906) ; see notice in 
Athenaeum, 20 July 1907. 


IN another part of this work we shall hope to trace the evolu- 
tion of the shapes of our church bells, and to show how it 
may be used as a criterion of their age. But at the present 
day it may be said that their shape has practically settled down 
to one normal type. Until about sixteen years ago, the evolution 
of the shape was not worked out by any scientific method, but 
was purely empirical. Since the researches of the late Canon 
Simpson, referred to below (p. 49), all this has been changed, 
and the modern bell-founders work out their results on purely 
scientific lines. 

The different parts of the bell are distinguished as follows : 
At the bottom is the thick rim or "sound-bow"; above that is 
the concave " waist " ; and above that is the " shoulder," where 
the inscription is usually placed. The part above the angle of 
the shoulder is known as the "crown," and it is to the highest 
part of that that the "cannons" or loops are fixed, which are 
nailed by straps to the head-stock, or thick wooden block which 
turns in the " brasses " or bearings, by means of pivots known 
as the " gudgeons," and forms the axle of the wheel. The 
cannons, with the bolt of the clapper, used to be cast on solid, 
but this is not done now by good founders. From the bolt 
hangs the clapper, terminating below the "ball," a short rounded 
bulb which strikes the sound-bow of the bell and increases the 
impetus of the blow, in a longish tail called the "flight." In 
ancient times the clapper was fastened to the crown-staple by 
means of a leathern belt or " baldrick," which constantly needed 
repairing or replacing, and hence we find frequent mention of 
the word — spelled in an infinity of ways — in old churchwardens' 
accounts. Nowadays most bells are cast without cannons, and 
are fastened to the headstock (usually of cast iron) by bolts 
through the crown. Mr. Baker invented one improved process 
of attachment, Sir Edmund Beckett (Lord Grimthorpe) another. 
The relation of the various parts of the bell and its fittings 
to one another may be seen in the accompanying diagram 




(30). We also illustrate a modern bell hung with steel fittings 
throughout, by way of contrast (31). 

When the soft bell-metal is indented by the continued strokes 
of the clapper, after a time a cavity is formed, and ultimately 
the bell is liable to crack at this point. The remedy against 
this is known as " quarter turning," i.e., turning the bell round 
through one quarter of its circumference, so that the clapper 
strikes in anew place. Owing to the construction of the cannons 

Diagram showing the manner in which a bell is hung in a wooden frame, 
with wheel, etc., for ringing. The upright piece attached to the 
"headstock is the "stay" ; the loose bar below is the " slider." 

the old bells could only be turned once, but recent improvements 
enable a bell to be turned as often as fresh cavities are found. 1 

The most ancient mediaeval bells are usually taller and 
narrower relatively than they afterwards became, but their tone 
is on the whole good. On the other hand, the short-waisted 
modern bell is much easier to "raise" when it is "rung," i.e., 
inverted, owing to the increased leverage ; and to this the change 

1 For the construction of cannons see Cocks, Bucks, p. xxiii. 



of shape was probably due. The waist and shoulder, which are 
much thinner than the sound-bow, were regarded as being 
employed simply to suspend the sonorous metal ring which 
forms the sound-bow, without impairing its tone. It will 
be noticed in the illustration (31) that the sound-bow is 
much thicker than the waist or the shoulder. Some of the 
finest ancient bells, such as the Lavenham tenor (p. 109), are 
decidedly thin at the shoulder ; indeed all the ancient bells 
are on the average thinner than the modern ones. Though the 
normal shape of a modern bell is elliptical, it was not until 
the experiments were made with a view to casting the great 
Westminster bell, that the precise ellipse was ascertained. It 
proved, somewhat curiously, to approximate more to the shape 
of the English than the French "ancients," but still more closely 
to that of Russian bells. Hemispherical bells have been tried, 
but do not give such good tones as a bell of elliptical contour ; 
a bell of this form, weighing about three or four hundredweight, 
is, from its singularly doleful tone, thoroughly appropriate for a 
cemetery. It is a curious fact that the normal shape and ratio 
of dimensions are only suitable for bells of 4 cwt. and upwards ; 
what makes a good big bell makes a bad little one, and the 
latter has to be made proportionately thicker. Sir Edmund 
Beckett made six-inch models to scale of the Westminster bell, 
but they sounded worse than the porter's bell at a railway 
station. The usual ratio of dimensions in a church bell is that 
its inside measurement should be fifteen times the thickness 
at the sound-bow, and the height about twelve times that 

Bell metal is an alloy of copper and tin. Casting is much 
facilitated by the fact that this alloy easily melts ; its melting- 
point is far below that of pure copper, and in fact a small piece 
of bell metal will even melt in an ordinary domestic fire. 
Analyses of fragments of ancient bells made at the School of 
Mines shew a proportion of three parts of copper to one of tin. 
But it appears that modern bell metal of such proportions is too 
brittle to be safe for ringing, owing to the inferior quantity of 
copper. The probable explanation is that modern copper, 
owing to improved processes of smelting, is not identical with 
the old metal, being chemically less impure. An alloy of 
thirteen parts of copper to four of tin has been found to give 
good results ; but Dr. Raven 1 was of opinion that five parts to 
one is the best proportion. 

In olden times people were proud of their bells, and gave 
liberally not only in money but also in kind ; and when a bell 
1 Bells of England, p. 4. 


was cast in the church or churchyard there was great local 
excitement, and people presented household utensils and other 
objects of metal to the casting. This, as we have already seen 
(p. 23), was the case at Bridgwater in 1284, where, including 
425 lbs. of metal from the old bell, 1,861 lbs. in all were 
contributed, of which 1,780 lbs. were used in the actual casting. 

The best bells have what is called a silvery tone ; and stories 
are constantly told of silver tankards and the like being cast 
into the furnace to improve the sound. When Tancho, a monk 
of St. Gall, was casting a fine bell for Charlemagne's church at 
Aachen, he asked for 100 lbs. of silver. But this may only have 
been to purchase copper and tin, or to defray the expenses of 
casting. If he had thrown the silver into the furnace, it would 
certainly not have produced a fine bell, in fact the result would 
have been much the same if he had thrown in a hundred pounds 
of lead. It is the tin in the alloy which gives brilliancy of tone, 
and the addition of silver would only impair it. It may be 
added that bell metal, like gun-metal, can be used again and 
again ; the invariable price charged for recasting old metal is 
two guineas per cwt, that of new metal averaging about £j 
per cwt., but varying according to the state of the metal market. 

The first instructions for making bells, says Dr. Raven, 1 are 
to be found in a treatise by Walter de Odyngton, a monk of 
Evesham in the time of Henry III. The MS. in which they are 
found, probably a later copy, is in the Library of Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge (Parker Coll., No. 410). 2 The chapter on 
bells, headed De Symbalis facicndis, is very short, and to the 
following effect : — 

Ad simbola facienda tota vis et difficultas extat in appensione cerae ex 
qua formantur, et primo sciendi quod quanto densius est tintinnabulum 
tanto acutius sonat tenuius vero gravius. Unam appensam ceram quantam- 
libet ex qua formandum primum cimbalum divides in octo partes et octavam 
partem addes tantae cerae sicut integra fuit, et fiet tibi cera secundi simbali. 
Et cetera facies ad eundem modum a gravioribus inchoando. Sed cave ne 
forma interior argillae cui aptanda est cera alio mutetur, ne etiam aliquid de 
cera appensa addat ad spiramina, proinde et ut quinta vel sexta pars metalli 
sit stannum purificatum a plumbo, reliquum de cupro similiter mundato 
propter sonoritatem. Si autem in aliquo defeceris, cum cote vel lima potest 

" For making bells the whole difficulty consists in estimating the wax 
models from which they are formed, and first in knowing that the thicker a 
bell is, the higher its note, and the reverse." 

This at first sight seems to suggest the use of moulds formed 

1 Church Bells of Suffolk, p. 3 ff. 

2 See M. R. James, Cat. of MSS. in Library of Corpus Chr. Coll., ii. 
part 2, p. 295. 


by wax models for casting ; but, as will be seen later, this process 
was unknown in England, where loam is the usual material. 
The writer goes on to say : — 

" Starting with any given amount of wax for the model of the first bell, 
you divide it into eight parts, and the addition of one eighth part" (sc. nine- 
eights of the size of the first) " will give you the amount required for the 
second bell. If you start from the "heavier bells the principle is similar. 
But take care lest the inner mould " (or core) " of clay, to which the wax is 
to be applied, is changed in any different proportion ; and also that none of 
the allotted wax gets into the vents. Further, a fifth or sixth part of the 
metal should be tin purified from lead, the rest copper similarly cleansed, 
with a view to greater sonorousness. If any defects should be apparent, they 
can be set right with a file or whetstone." 

Dr. Raven points out that Walter de Odyngton's method is 
purely empirical, and considers that such a rule-of-thumb method 
of working may have largely contributed to the disappearance 
of early bells in England. He also quotes from an anonymous 
writer, probably of about the same date or later, whose ideas are 
somewhat of an improvement on Odyngton's, though rather 
difficult to understand. The MS., which is in the Bodleian, 1 is 
to this effect : — 

Sonitum tintinnabulorum si quis rationabiliter iuxta modum fistularum 
organicarum facere voluerit, scire debet quia sicut fistulae breviores altiorem 
sonum habent quam longiores ita et unumquodque tintinnabulum quantum 
superat in densitate tantum excellit in sono. Quod caute providendum est 
in appensione cerae qua formantur. Ad primum autem quod est A littera 
quali volueris pondere ceram appende, dividasque illam ipsam ceram aeque 
in octo partes ac recipiat sequens, B videlicet, eiusdem appensionis iteruni 
octo partes alias, addita insuper nona parte. Illasque novem partes in 
unam collige dividesque in octo recipiat tercium quod est C, eadem appen- 
sione octo alias partes, addita etiam nona parte eiusdem ponderis. Tunc 
primi appensionem divide in tres partes, supereturque a quarto quod est 
D quarta parte, hoc est semitonium. Item divides quartum in octo, supere- 
turque a quinto quod est E, nona parte, dividesque similiter quintum in octo 
et recipiat sextum quod est F, nonam partem amplius. Quartam nichilo- 
minus in tres partes aeque appensum ab octavo quod est G, superatur 
quarta parte, hoc est semitonium. 

" If anyone wishes to produce the sound of bells on a rational principle, 
like that of the pipes of an organ, he should know that, just as the shorter 
pipes have a higher note than the longer, so with any bell a greater thickness 
means a higher tone. Due precaution to this end must be taken in weighing 
out the wax for the model. For the first bell, which we may distinguish by 
the letter A, take the proper amount of wax for the desired weight, and divide 
it equally into eight parts, and for the second, B, take the same with a ninth 
part added (sc. § A). Divide this sum of nine parts into eight, and you get 
C, the third, on the same principle ; but to get the fourth, D, a semitone from 
C, you take four-thirds of A. The fifth again, E, is greater than D by a ninth 
part, and the sixth, F, a ninth part greater than E. But the seventh, G, being 
only a semitone above F, is four-thirds of the latter." 

1 Rawlinson, C. 720, fol. 13. 


Dr Raven works out the ratio of the seven bells as : 
A:8; B:9; C: 10.125; U : 10.6 ; E:i2; FM3.5; G : 14.2, 
which, he says, is not quite in accordance with modern ideas. 

We may now proceed to describe the method of casting 
which has generally obtained in England for many centuries. 
A bell, it should first be noted, is (strictly speaking) nothing 
more than a layer of metal which has been run into a space 
between two moulds (37) : an inner mould (39) known as 
the "core," and an outer (41), styled the "cope" or mantle. 
The bell is first designed on paper, according to the scale 
of measurement required. Then a travelling crook or sweep 
is made, which is a kind of double wooden compass, the 
legs of which are respectively curved to the shape of the 
inner and outer sides of the bell, a space of the exact 
form and thickness of the bell being left between them. 
This crook is attached to a vertical stake or spindle driven 
into the bottom of the casting-pit, so that it can revolve 
round the core, and is so shaped that it produces in its revolu- 
tion the exact form of the bell. To form the core, a hollow 
cone of brickwork is built up round the spindle, leaving room 
for a fire to be lighted inside it. The outside of the cone 
is then covered with fine soft moulding clay, well mixed and 
bound together with calves' hair, and the inner leg of the 
compass run round it, bringing it to the exact shape of the inside 
of the bell. The core appears to have been made to revolve 
on a horizontal spindle, just in the same way as a lump of clay 
revolves on a potter's wheel. 

Next comes the construction of the cope. Upon the core, 
well smeared with grease, is fashioned the false bell of plastic 
clay, the precise outer contours of which are defined by the outer 
or longer leg of the crook, until an exact model of the exterior 
is produced. On the outside of the clay bell the founder now 
impresses his trade mark, inscription, or any other form of 
ornament, modelling them in wax. When this model is dry, 
the surface is carefully smeared with grease, then lightly covered 
with the finest clay, and then with a coarser clay, until a solid 
" mantle " or cope (see p. 2) is formed over the outside of the 
clay bell. In order to ensure its cohering when raised, hair 
and bands of hay are worked into the clay, as in the core. 
A fire is now lighted inside the core, and the whole baked hard ; 
the grease and wax inscriptions steam out through holes at the 
top, leaving the sham clay bell baked hard and tolerably loose, 
between the cope and the core. The cope is then thoroughly 
dried, and when dry is lifted off, and the clay bell or model is 
then broken up. The cope, having been replaced, now encloses 


*** >*•" -V 





between itself and the core the exact shape of the bell (31). 
Into this space, previously occupied by the clay model, the 
molten metal is now run (31), a hole being left in the cope 
to allow of the escape of the steam. In the case of a large 
bell the metal will take several weeks to cool and harden 
before it can be extricated. 1 

Our illustration (43) also shows the ring of eight bells cast 
from the moulds shown on the previous pages. 

The methods here described are now in some respects old- 
fashioned, and various improvements have been adopted by 
modern founders ; but this account may serve to indicate how 
the majority of the bells now hanging in our ancient church 
towers were made. For one thing, it is certain that all our 
mediaeval founders seem to have used the clay-bell method ; 
in no other way could the inscriptions have been formed. But 
in some foreign bells, such as that of Fontenailles (see p. 24), 
the model was evidently of wax; and the only mediaeval descrip- 
tions of bell-founding which have come down to us, such as that 
of Walter de Odyngton, quoted above (p. 34), prescribe the 
employment of a wax bell as a model. One example indeed of 
the use of wax is mentioned in a Fabric Roll of York Minster 
of the year 1371, 2 where it is expressly stated that the wax is to 
be used for the mould : 

Et in vj serzis (large tapers) emptis pro le mold xviij d . 

But six large tapers at is. 6d. would be quite inadequate for 
modelling a large bell. The evidence is not adequate to prove 
that the cire perdue process was ever used in England for casting 
large bells. 

Though in the main, until recently, the mediaeval methods 
have been but little altered, there seems to be some evidence 
that at first the process was much simpler, at any rate for 
smaller bells. The well-known Bell-founder's window in the 
north aisle of the nave of York Minster, given by the founder 
Richard Tunnoc (see p. 204), who died in 1330, has long 
been celebrated for its representation of the bell-founders' 
craft. 3 The description of the process as illustrated in this 
remarkable window is given by Ellacombe as follows : — 

" On the left hand is represented the mode of forming the mould of the 
bell, called the core. One figure is turning it with a handle like a grind- 

1 See generally Encycl. Brit, hi. p. 687, from which article many of the 
above details are taken. 

2 Surtees Sac, vol. 35, p. 9. 

3 See the coloured illustration in Ellacombe's Bells of the Church, pi. 18, 
the left-hand portion of which is reproduced in our frontispiece, with his 
description on p. 488. 


stone ; and another, with a long crooked tool (which he holds firmly with 
both hands, one end being placed under his right armpit), is moulding the 
clay to the proper form. . . . On the floor of this compartment are shown 
two bells, between the legs of the tressels on which the mould is being 
turned. In the compartment on the right hand there are three figures 
busily engaged in running the molten metal. The furnace is of an ecclesi- 
astical type, in which the metal is kept heated by two pair of large domestic 
bellows, worked by a boy, who holds a handle in each hand ; another boy 
is helping him by standing with one foot on each upper board of the bellows, 
on which he manages to support himself and regulate his movements by 
holding on with one hand to a bar fixed just above his head. The other 
figure, we may suppose, represents the chief workman, who, having tapped 
the furnace, is carefully watching the molten metal running into the mould 

On the other hand, Dr. Raven 1 quotes a very early treatise 
which seems to imply that the use of crooks was known at the 
time when it was composed, the first half of the eleventh 
century. The passage, which occurs in Theophilus De variis 
artibus, Book III., is as follows : — 

" Compositurus campanam primum incides tibi lignum siccum de quercu, 
longum secundum quod vis habere campanam, ita ut ex utraque parte extra 
formam emineat longitudine unius palmi, et quadrum in una summitate 
grossius, in aliam gracilius et rotundum, ut possit in foramine circumvolvi. 
Sitque deduct[um] grossius et grossius, ut cum opus fuerit perfectum facile 
possit educi. Quod lignum in grossiori parte una palma ante summitatem 
incidatur in circuitu, ut fiat fossa duobus digitis lata, sitque lignum ibi 
rotundum, iuxta quam fossam summitas ipsius ligni fiat tenuis, ut in aliud 
lignum curvum iungi possit, per quod valeat in modum runcinae circumverti. 
Fiant etiam duo asseres longitudini et latitudini aequales qui intrinsecus 
coniungantur et confirmentur quattuor lignis, ita ut sint ampli inter se 
secundum longitudinem praedicti ligni ; ut in uno assere fiat foramen in quo 
convertatur rotunda summitas et in altero e contra aequaliter fiat incisura 
duobus digitis profunda, in qua volvatur rotunda incisura. Quo facto sume 
ipsum lignum et circumpone ei argillam fortiter maceratam, imprimis duo- 
bus digitis spissam, qua diligenter siccata, suppone ei alteram, sicque facies 
donee forma compleatur quantam earn habere volueris, et cave ne unquam 
superponas argillam alteri nisi inferior omnino sicca fuerit. Deinde colloca 
ipsam formam inter asseres superscripts, et sedente puero qui vertat cum 
ferris ad hoc opus aptis tornabis earn sicut volueris et tenens pannum in 
aqua madefactum earn aequabis." 

" When about to make a bell, first cut yourself dry wood from an oak, 
the height of the bell, 2 so that it may project on either side the length of 
one palm beyond the mould, and cut it square, but thicker at one end, and 
rounded, so that it may revolve in the opening (?). If it is made of increasing 
thickness it will be the easier to extract it at the completion of the operation. 
In the thicker end an incision should be made one palm from the top, 
forming a groove two fingers wide round it, adjoining which the diameter 
of the wood should be narrow, to admit of its being connected with another 
curved piece, enabling it to be turned round like a plane (?). There should 
also be two rods of equal length and breadth, 3 joined together and 

1 Arch. Joitm., xlvii. p. 154. 2 This is to form the inner core. 

3 These appear to be the "crooks." 


strengthened with four pieces of wood, to match the size and length of the 
first-named piece of wood, and in one rod there should be a hole in which 
the round point may revolve, and in the other a groove two fingers deep, 
in which the circular groove may turn (?). Then place over the wooden 
core well-kneaded clay, at first two fingers thick, and when this is dry, add 
another layer, and so on till the mould is complete to your liking ; but take 
care that no layer is added before the one below is perfectly dry. Then 
place the mould between the two rods, and with the aid of irons of the 
proper form required, turned by a boy, you can shape it to your will, 
smoothing the surface by means of a moistened rag." 

The description is obscure in places, but it is clear that 
the crooks were fixed in the wooden core at the top, and used 
to shape the clay when laid over the core, quite in the later 
fashion, as already described. 

Nowadays bells employed in a peal usually require to be 
tuned. But in mediaeval times this was not so necessary, at 
any rate not before the invention of some form of change-ring- 
ing. It was not originally the practice, even if there were several 
bells in a belfry, for peals to be rung ; but they were at any rate 
rung in rounds, as is now done on the Continent on Festivals, 
and for this a certain amount of tuning was necessary. Canon 
Nolloth informs us that the ancient ring of five bells at Norwich 
Cathedral are tuned with each other in a minor key, and that 
one of the old bells at Beverley Minster has the inscription ISTA 
SECVNDA TONAT, &c, which shows they were meant to be rung 
in order. At the same time, many bells were rung as far as 
possible for one function only, just as nowadays some churches 
possess a special Curfew bell or Service bell. That is to say 
that one would be the Gabriel bell, used only to remind the 
parishioners to say their " Ave Maria " ; another used as the 
sanctus or sacring bell, rung only during the Mass (see on this, 
p. 123 ff.) ; and so on. At Ludlow in the sixteenth century 
we read not only of the first, second, and third bells, the " second 
tenor," and the " great bell," but also of " our Ladye bell," " the 
first mass bell," and " the sacring bell." 1 At St. Martin's-in-the- 
Fields, London, at the same date, we have, besides the great, 
little, " fore," and middle bells, the sanctus, mass, and " morrow- 
mass " bells.' 2 At St. Andrew Hubbard, London, a bell rung 
gratis at the funeral of poor people was called the " Alms bell." 3 

Sometimes a whole peal used to be turned out so nearly 
correct that no tuning was needed ; such bells were known as 
a " maiden peal." Probably, however, in every case a slight 

1 Salop Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser. iv. (1904), p. 32. 

2 Kitto, Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Martin-in-tlie-Fields, p. J2. 

3 British Magazine, xxxiv. p. 185. 


amount of tuning would have been an advantage, as modern 
research has shown. Now that in accordance with Canon 
Simpson's discoveries (see below, p. 49) the other zones of the 
bell are tuned as well as the sound-bow — sometimes right up 
into the crown — in order to get the harmonies correct, it is not 
probable that we shall hear of any more " maiden peals." The 
modern method of tuning is simple, a shaving being planed off 
the interior by the aid of steam-power to flatten the note. 
Nowadays the smaller bells in a ring are sometimes intentionally 
made just a little too thick in order that they may bear the 
whole brunt of the tuning. On the other hand, if the note be too 
flat, the edge of the rim may be planed off; but this latter 
process tends to impair the tone of the bell, and is to be 
avoided ; the proper remedy in such a case is recasting. 

The processes of tuning have been enshrined in immortal 
verse by a seventeenth-century poet, 1 only known to posterity 
as F. D. ; but we need not quote more than the two opening 
lines : — 

" Could I mould and file and tune my Lines as well 
As thou canst mould and file and tune thy Bell." 

Ellacombe- tells of a certain Laurence Huddleston, of 
Shaftesbury, a sort of " Old Mortality," who used to wander 
about the West of England, making it his pious duty to tune 
defective rings of bells. He would pass weeks in a belfry, 
chipping and modulating every bell till the sounds exactly 
answered the intervals of a monochord. Among the rings tuned 
by him were those of Bath, Shaftesbury, St. Cuthbert, Wells, 
and Colerne, Wilts. He would even tune sheep-bells rather 
than be without any such employment. Many ancient bells 
will be found to have been tuned with a hammer, chisel, and file 
in mediaeval times ; the magnificent tenor of the fine ring at 
Redenhall, Norfolk, has had its diameter reduced three-quarters 
of an inch by such chipping. In later times Samuel Knight, an 
eighteenth-century London founder, was notorious in this respect; 
his bells are otherwise well cast, but are always found to be 
terribly chipped round the edge. Dr. Raven mentions that 
Bilbie of Cullompton, Devon,. a famous founder of the early part 
of the nineteenth century, committed suicide because he failed 
to get a ring of bells in tune. 3 

It is, however, by no means sufficient that a ring of bells 
should be in accurate tune, and few in fact are ; eight saucepans 
might be got into perfect tune, but the peal would be gruesome 
hearing. If the ring is to be really satisfactory, each bell must 

1 Harl. MSS. 367, fol. 166. 2 Bells of the Church, p. 4^2. 

3 Bells of England, p. 227. 


individually produce musical sound, or " be in tune with itself." 
To get this tone in the bell is the highest triumph of the art. 
It seems to depend partly on the composition of the bell metal, 
partly on the shape of the bell, and parti)' on the size and 
other minor considerations. Hence the failure of Sir Edmund 
Beckett's models of Big Ben (p. 33). It has been justly remarked 
that no ring of eight bells is worth having unless the tenor has a 
diameter of at least four feet and weighs at least a ton. 

Since 1896, writes Lord Grimthorpe, 1 a revolution has been 
brought about in the tuning of bells, chiefly through the efforts 
of the late Rev. A. B. Simpson, Rector of Fittleworth, Sussex. 2 
Every bell gives out several notes, but while the old Belgian 
founders endeavoured to bring these more or less nearly into 
tune with each other, the task was never fully achieved. Now, 
however, elaborate experiments have demonstrated its possibility, 
thanks to modern science and improved machinery. There is 
no reason why every bell should not give out a true and 
harmonious chord instead of a collection of discords. The tone 
of properly tuned bells is incomparably fuller and richer ; and 
ordinary bells sound so thin and poor by comparison, that many 
rings have been sent to be recast at Loughborough for this reason 
alone, Messrs. Taylor being the first founders to take up the 
new discovery. The new rings of the Minster and of St. Mary, 
Beverley, Holy Trinity, Hull, Loughborough, and the tenor of 
Exeter Cathedral, have been tuned by them on the new principles. 
They have brought about, says Canon Nolloth, " a complete 
revolution in bell music." 

The subject has been adequately dealt with in the last issue 
of the Encyclopaedia Britannica z by Canon Papillon, whose 
remarks, largely based on the paper by Canon Simpson, already 
cited, we may take the liberty of quoting. 

" A good bell, fairly struck, should give out three distinct 
notes — a ' fundamental ' note or ' tonic ' ; the octave above, or 
'nominal' ; and the octave below or 'hum-note.' (It also gives 
out the third and fifth above the fundamental, but these are less 
important.) Very few bells, however, have any of these notes, 
and hardly any all three, in unison ; the hum-notes being 
generally a little sharper, and the fundamentals a little flatter 
than their respective nominals. In tuning a ' ring ' the practice 
of founders has hitherto been to take one set of notes (in England 

1 Clocks, Watches, and Bells 1 903 edn.), p. 393. 

2 See his pamphlet, Why Bells sound out of Tune (Skeffington, 1897). 
Much useful matter may also be found in Mr. W. W. Starmcr's lectures 
given to the Incorporated Society of Musicians. 

3 iii. p. 688. 


usually the 'nominate,' on the Continent the fundamentals), and 
put these into tune, leaving the other notes to take care of them- 
selves. But in different circumstances different tones assert 
themselves. Thus when bells are struck at considerable intervals, 
the fundamental notes, being fuller and more persistent, are 
more prominent ; but when struck in rapid succession (as in 
change-ringing or Belgian carillons) the higher tone of the 
nominal is more perceptible." (Canon Simpson ascribes the in- 
harmonious character of the Belgian carillons and rings of bells 
to this neglect of the nominals.) " To tune a series of bells 
properly, the fundamental tone of each bell must be brought 
into true octave with its nominal, and the whole series of bells, 
thus rectified, put into tune with each other. The hum-note of 
each, which is the tone of the whole mass of metal, should also 
be in tune with the others. If flatter than the nominal it cannot 
be sharpened ; but if sharper (as is more usual) it may be 
flattened by thinning the metal near the crown of the bell." 

The writer goes on to note that Great John of Beverley 
(p. ioo) is in perfect tune, and that Great Paul has all the tones 
in true harmony except that the tone above the fundamental 
(E flat) is a fourth (A flat) instead of a third (G or G flat). The 
quality of a bell depends not only on the casting and the 
fineness and proper mixture of the metals, but on a due propor- 
tion of the metal to the calibre of the bell. The larger a bell, 
the lower its tone ; but the proportion of metal must be 
adequate. For the pure chord of the keynote, 3rd, 5th, and 
octave, the relation of the diameters should be as 30 : 24 : 20 : 15, 
and the weights as 80 : 41 : 24 : 10. (A ring of eight bells 
on these lines would have a treble of 30-in. diameter weighing 
5 cwt., and a tenor of 60-in. diameter weighing 40 cwt. ; but in 
actual practice the intervals would appear to be much smaller.) 

Another result of Canon Simpson's researches has been that 
in the shape of our bells there has been a reversion in general 
form to the English mediaeval and Continental type : much 
taller, and without the full rounded curves of ordinary modern 
English bells. Some two centuries ago, when change-ringing 
was attaining its popularity, the heavier bells in new rings began 
to be cast much shorter in proportion to their width than the 
smaller ones, in order to lessen the inequality in the arcs of 
revolution. But this sharpened the " hum-note " or lowest of 
the harmonies, and this is one of the reasons why Continental 
bells are so much richer in tone than ordinary English bells. 

When the bell had been cast, tuned, and (in ancient times) 
baptized or consecrated, there came the question of hanging it. 



Some of the early churches, both pre-Conquest and Norman, 
had central towers for bells, such as Barton-on-Humber and 
Iffley ; others had western towers, as Earl's Barton (53) and 
South Lopham. But it is probable that a long time elapsed 
before the great majority of parish churches, at any rate in the 
villages, became possessed of bell-towers. If the architecture of 
parochial bell-towers be studied, it will be found that compara- 
tively few are earlier than the fourteenth century, and that the 

Former bell house at King's College, Cambridge 

majority are much later. For instance, in Somerset the great 
period of tower-building is a little before or a little after 1500, 
and the majority of the ancient bells remaining in that county 
belong to about that period. The same is the case in Devon- 
shire and Cornwall. 

Nor does it seem to happen very frequently that the existing 
tower has replaced an earlier predecessor. It is quite possible 
in some cases that for a considerable period the church bell 



hung in the churchyard, on a frame or even on a tree. An 
illustration in the Gentlemen's Magazine for 1798 shows the bell 
of Brome Church, Staffordshire, hanging in a tree and fitted 
with a wheel. The bell of Dudleston Church, Shropshire, and 
the "ting-tang" at Hampton, Middlesex, are said to have been 
similarly treated. At Quarley, Hants, and Shenley, Herts, the 
bells at this day hang in frames in the churchyard. At King's 
College, Cambridge, a tower was projected, but never carried 
out, and the five bells were hung in a temporary bell-house of 

wood (51) until they 
were shamelessly sold 
in 1755. At East 
Bergholt, Suffolk, 
where there is a tradi- 
tion that the Devil pre- 
vented the completion 
of the tower, there is a 
wooden shed or bell- 
house in the church- 
yard which contains 
the bells (52). Even 
at Glastonbury Abbey 
there appears to have 
been some arrange- 
ment of the kind. 
Possibly for fear of en- 
dangering the central 
tower the largest of 
the Abbey bells were 
hung in a bell-house, 
for there were reported 
to be " in the tower viij 
bells, very great, and 
in the churchyard, iij, 
most huge." 
The next step is to be seen in the provision of a bell-cote for 
one or two bells in or on the western gable of the nave, either 
open, of stone, or closed, of wood. Usually there is but one 
bell, but sometimes two ; at Radipole, Dorset, there is accom- 
modation for three. Norman or Transitional open turrets of 
stone, with openings for two bells, may be seen at Manton and 
Little Casterton (57, 58), Rutland ; Northborough, Northants ; 
Wyre Piddle, Worcs. ; Kilpeck, Herefordshire ; and Withers- 
dale, Suffolk. Sometimes, with a little care, it is possible to 
detect, e.g., in some of the Northamptonshire churches, the 

Bell-house at East Bergholt, Suffolk 


Saxon bell-tower, Earl's Barton, Northants (tenth century) 


: ■ ■ 


~- :CraW:» «tou«..-. — Y'T i ttH i n liii iVufcJM, 

/•'/-(i/// i 'ranage 

Double sanctus bell-cote (Kinnersley, Shropshire) 

From Cranage 

Wooden bell-turret (Melverley, Shropshire) 



primitive bell-cote built up in the east wall of a later western 
tower. There is a curious instance at Kinnersley in Shrop- 
shire (55), where an original bell-cote with two openings is 
over the east end of the nave, and the present tower is not 


Transitional Norman bell-turret for two bells (Manton, Rutland) 

older than the eighteenth century ; but Mr. Cranage thinks the 
bell-cote must have been for the sanctus bell only, in spite of 
the two openings. 1 

1 See his Shropshire Churches, part x., p. 995. 



It may perhaps be worth while to quote what the late Mr. 
R. P. Brereton has said of the ancient bell-turrets in Rutland : x 
" A characteristic is the comparative frequency of bell-turrets 
in place of steeples at the west end. It is worthy of remark 
that all these are of early date, being either semi-Norman or 
Early English examples." He instances firstly, Manton, Little 

Transitional Norman bell-turret for two bells 
(Little Casterton, Rutland) 

Casterton, and Whitwell ; secondly, Essendine, Stretton, and 
Pilton. Others have subsequently given place to steeples, as at 
Great Casterton, Ridlington, and Wing. 2 " The Rutland bell- 
cotes are of simple form, but elegant design. They are all con- 

1 Some Characteristics of Rutland Churches, pp. 6, 7. 

2 Cf. (ilapthorne, Great Oakley, Wood Newton, and Yarwell, Northants. 

Towers and belfries 


structed to hold two bells, which are hung in separate arched 
openings. But though all are of the same general shape, here 
also the prevailing diversity of detail is apparent. Thus Whit- 
well has two distinct gables ; Little Casterton has two gables 
connected by a coped ridge at right angles to them ; while the 
two arches at Manton are under one gable, but separated by 

Bell-turret supported on buttresses (Burton Lazars, Leicestershire) 

a buttress which runs up between them ; some of the arch- 
openings are perfectly plain, others have jamb-shafts with caps 
and bases, and so on." 

Our illustrations give some further examples of typical 
bell-turrets and methods of hanging bells In different parts of 
England. One from Burton Lazars, Leicestershire (59), shows 



Bells hung in aperture (Ashley, Hants) 


Bell under gable (Godshill, Isle of Wight) 

Wooden bell-turret (King's 
Somborne, Hants) 

Bell-turret (York, St. Michael-le-Belfry) 



an open turret of the Rutland type, not raised on the western 
gable, but supported on an arch formed by uniting two buttresses 
at the head. At Ashley and Godshill, Hampshire (60. 1, 2) there is 
no proper attempt at a turret, but the bells are hung in apertures 
in the gable, in one case protected by a corbelled arch. King's 
Somborne, Hants (60.4); York, St Michael-le-Belfry (60.3); and, 
Melverley, Shropshire (55), shew different examples of wooden 
turrets, closed and open; the Shropshire example is fairly typical 
of that county. Another strictly local type is confined to South 
Gloucestershire and North Wilts, and usually takes the form 
shewn from West Littleton (61), of a stone turret over the east 
end of the nave, with a conical cap supported on four pillars, the 
base of the turret being corbelled off over the chancel roof. At 
Great Chalfield(65) 
is a variation of 
this type, in the 
form of a small 
tower with spirelet, 
at the west end. 
Most of these stone 
turrets are very 
picturesque. But, 
in fact, the variety 
of ways in which 
bells may be hung 
when there is no 
proper tower is in- 
finite, and we can 
only select a few 
typical examples. 1 
In fo r e ign 
countries the bell- 
cote was more developed than with us. In some districts on the 
Continent it became such an imposing feature that towers never 
came into fashion at all. This is notably the case in Italy, 
where even great churches like the Cathedral of Orvieto have 
only a turret or open belfry in place of a tower or campanile. 
On the railway between Toulouse and Carcasonne many churches 
may be seen in which the west front is given great breadth and 
height, and is perforated with apertures for a whole ring of bells. 
Other churches in this district are surmounted by open turrets, an 
imitation of which may be seen in the church of St. Augustine, 

1 See the paper by J. H. Parker, in Arch. Journ., iii. p. 205 ff., from 
which some of our illustrations are taken ; also Petit, ibid., i. p. 36, on the 
Wiltshire type of turret. 

West Littleton, Gloucs. 



The old Campanile of Salisbury Cathedral 



View and Plan of Campanile for- 
merly attached to Westminster 
Abbey (from Lethaby) 

Restoration of the former Cam- 
panile, St. Paul's Cathedral 

Former Campanile of Tewkesbury 
Abbey (from Masse) 

6 4 


South Kensington. In some parts of Scotland, such as Kin- 
cardineshire, 1 the tower is almost unknown, and its place is 
taken by what is known as a " bird-cage belfry," a square 
stone structure, open each side, the top being only supported 
by the angle-piers ; these structures mostly date from the 
seventeenth century, and are often quite picturesque. 

Even in the greater churches the campanile was often 
detached, lest the central tower, poised not too securely on the 
arches of the crossing, should be endangered. Salisbury 
possessed a magnificent detached campanile with a picturesque 
wooden top (62), 2 which was scandalously destroyed by the 
barbarian Wyatt in 1789. At Norwich there was a detached 
bell-tower to the south of the Erpingham gate, and it appears 
from the Sacrist's rolls that it contained a ring of bells in 
addition to that in the central tower of the cathedral. St. 
Paul's Cathedral had a campanile containing the "Jesus " bells, 
which was pulled clown at the Reformation (cf. p. 351). The 
illustration (63.1) gives a restoration by Mr. Brewer. 3 There were 
similar structures at Worcester, Westminster, and Tewkesbury 
(63.2, 3). 4 The finest detached campanile — and the only one 
belonging to a cathedral — which survives, is that of Chichester 
Cathedral (67). Detached towers or belfries are not uncommon 
in certain parts of England, as in Herefordshire and Cornwall, 
and other districts formerly exposed to forays of Welshmen or 
pirates, as also in Norfolk. Fine examples may be seen at 
Beccles (67), Berkeley, Ledbury, Pembridge, and West Walton, 

The following list, compiled chiefly from Notes and Queries? 
gives the existing examples : — 






Marston Morteyne. 


Tydd St. Giles. 

Chester St. John. 




Cornwall - Illogan. 






My lor. 





1 Eeles, Ch. Bells of Kincardineshire, pi. 5, p. 40. 

2 Wilts Arch. Mag., xxviii. 108; Gentleman's Mag., lxxxix. (1819, ii.) p. 
305 ; Hoare, Modern Wilts, vi. {Old and New Sarum, by Benson and 
Hatcher), plates opposite pp. 524, 543. 

3 Builder, 2nd Jan. 1892. 

4 The illustrations of the two latter are reproduced from Lethaby, West- 
minster Abbey, p. 58, and Masse, Tewkesbury, p. 17 ; for more details as to 
that at Westminster, see Trans. St. Paul's Eccles. Soc, vi., pp. 118, 126, and 
reff. there given. 

6 7th Ser., vols, ix., x. (1890). 

*-— ' ~"« t ■■■■*■ ^ 


• 1 itl 



Towers and belfries 



- Westbury-on- 


Norfolk - 

W. Walton. 


- Bosbury. 

Oxford - 

New College, Oxford 


Suffolk - 


- Ledbury. 




Bury St. Edmunds. 

- Richard's Castle. 


Chichester Cath. 

- Yarpole. 




- Fleet. 







E. Dereham. 

Denbigh - 



- TerringtonSt 

. Clement. 




following are mere shec 

s or " bell-houses " : — 


- Wix. 


Brookland (65). 


- Wrabness. 

Suffolk - 

E. Bergholt (52). 

Bells are generally hung in a timber framework (cf. 6g) which 
it is usually attempted to keep as far as possible clear of the walls, 

Old style of wooden bell-frame (from Ellacombe's Devon) 

it being supposed that the oscillation of the bells when rung, as 
well as the sound-waves which they produce, may shake and dis- 
integrate the walls of the tower. The vibration is certainly 
strongly felt by the masonry. Ellacombe remarks that at the 
Abbaye-aux-Hommes at Caen, although the two big bells were 
not rung, but only worked by the foot without wheel or rope, 
the oscillation of the Norman tower was so great as to make one 
of his companions sea-sick. Nevertheless he asserted so early 
as 1862 that the danger of allowing the bell-frame or cage to 
touch the walls was greatly over-rated. In 1874, after visiting 
about six hundred more towers, in man}" of which the upper 
bell-timbers were fastened into the walls, and in some cases 
wedges applied, he states that he found no tower thereby 


damaged, provided that the masonry was stout and substantial. 1 
The tower of Magdalen College, Oxford, vibrates from top to 
bottom when its fine peal of ten bells is rung. The floor of 
the ringing -chamber at St. Martin - in - the - Fields, London, 
oscillates very considerably during the ringing of a peal, but 
the tower is as sound as ever it was ; the ring here consists of 
twelve bells, weighing in all about 147 cwt. Sir Edmund 
Beckett was of opinion that the upper beams, if possible, should 
not touch the walls, but that the lower beams should be 
connected with them as firmly as possible, so that the frame 
should not batter the walls, but masonry and timber vibrate 
together. 2 It is now, however, established that iron frames 
built firmly into the walls, both at top and bottom, are the 

A typical ring of eight bells, hung in a modern iron frame, is 
here shown (71). 

1 Somerset, Suppl. p. 138. 

2 See his Clocks, Watches, and Bells (1903), pp. 366-378, where practical 
suggestions and specifications in ordering bells are given. 





WHEN the bells are hung and ready for use, the next 
question is how best to produce sounds from them. 
One method is to strike the outside of the bell (which remains 
stationary) with a hammer or mallet, and it is in this way 
that the hours are struck by a church clock. Next come the 
methods of sounding the bell from inside by means of the 
clapper. By pulling the rope an oscillating movement is imparted 
to the bell, sufficient to enable the clapper to strike it as it 
swings from side to side. When a single bell is sounded in this 
fashion, it is usually called " tolling," as for a service or a 
funeral ; when several bells are thus sounded in succession, so 
as to produce a tune or sequence of sounds, it is known as 
" chiming." Whatever method be employed, it is always the 
sound-bow that is struck ; only from this part of the bell can a 
satisfactory tone be obtained. Hence it is that a crack in the 
rim is at once fatal to a bell, whereas one cracked in the crown 
may still be used without much deterioration in the sound. The 
body of the bell when struck gives a deeper note, but the sound- 
bow produces the loudest tone. Where there are only three or 
four bells, chiming has a very sweet sound, and is to be preferred 
to ringing proper. 

An illegitimate method of chiming, and one attended sooner 
or later with disastrous results, is what is variously termed 
" clocking " or " clappering," a practice only too often adopted 
by lazy sextons. In this, the rope is hitched round the "flight " 
of the clapper ; the result is to check the vibrations, and so 
inevitably to crack the bell. Ellacombe gives a list of twenty- 
two large bells in or near London cracked within a few years 
previous to i860 by this iniquitous practice. 1 Nor is it entirely 
a new device. In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Lawrence, 
Reading, for 1 594 appears an order " Whereas there was through 
the slothfulness of the sextun in times past a kind of toling y e 
bell by y e clapper rope : yt was now forbidden and taken away : 

1 Bells of the Church, p. 217. 


and that the bell should be toled as in times past and not in 
anni such idle sorte." 1 The worthy Reading bell-founder, 
Joseph Carter, was churchwarden at the time, and is to be 
commended for stopping a practice which might have brought 
him business. 

So far we have been considering the bell when chimed or 
struck by the clapper or any external instrument. But the 
difference in " ringing," to use the word in a strictly technical 
sense, 2 is that the greater and more rapid revolution of the bell 
produces a superior tone, as when it is swung the clapper flies 
up after it and catches it and strikes it in the ascent. To effect 
this, the bell must be inverted and swung, first in one direction, 
then in the reverse, right round above the frame, so that at the 
end of each swing it is mouth upwards, and (in the modern 
method of ringing) has performed nearly a whole revolution 
each time the rope is pulled. In order to achieve this with the 
least amount of exertion, the bells before ringing are " raised " 
to the inverted position by a series of steady pulls at the rope, 
varying in length till the inverted position is reached. Thus 
the bell at each stroke starts with a fall and swings up again 
nearly to the vertical, first on one side, then on the other, almost 
by its own momentum. The effect of ringing is thus quite 
different from that of striking bells while stationary, or in the 
imperfect revolution which they make when "chimed." In 
ringing, the bell nearly describes a complete circle, and in the 
course of its revolution is struck sharply by the clapper ; during 
the descent the clapper naturally lies against the rim, but, 
becoming free at the lowest point of the circle, the opposite rim 
comes in contact with it as it ascends. The result of this move- 
ment is that the period of contact of the two is greatly shortened, 
and therefore there is less check to the vibration. Hence that 
pleasant undulatory vibration in the air, like a buzz or hum 
lasting for several seconds, which is peculiar to ringing, and 
cannot be obtained in any other manner. 

So far we have been considering the movement of the bell 
itself; now let us see what the ringer is doing in the ringing- 
chamber below. 3 Perhaps a clearer impression will be conveyed 

1 Cocks, Ch. Bells of Bucks, p. 83 ; Kerry, Hist, of St. Lawrence, 
Reading, p. 87. 

- In common parlance " ringing " and "chiming" are not used in their 
proper technical sense, nor have we attempted to do so ourselves in the 
course of this book. It is assumed, for instance, that when the word "ring- 
ing" is used of a single bell, the reader will understand it in the general sense 
of "producing sound." 

3 The two illustrations (75, 77) show the action of the ringers in the 
belfry, and the corresponding position of the bells when being rung. 




if we quote the description of a practised expert, Canon 
Papillon : 1 — 

" For ringing a bell is pulled up and ' set ' mouth uppermost. 
Then it is pulled off, first at 'hand-stroke' (sc. with hands on the 
' sally ' or thickened part of the rope), then at ' back-stroke ' in 
the reverse direction (with hands near the end of the rope, which 
at the previous pull will have been coiled round three-quarters 
of the wheel's circumference), describing at each pull almost a 
full circle till she comes back to the upright position. At each 
revolution the swing is chiefly done by the weight of the bell, 
the ringer giving a pull of just sufficient strength to bring the 
bell back into an upright position, to prevent the swing becoming 
shorter and the bell ' falling ' again." 

A large bell can nowadays be rung comfortably by a single 
man. But we have seen (p. 17) that when Prior Conrad pre- 
sented five bells about 11 10 to Canterbury Cathedral, the first 
and second bells required ten men, the third eleven, the fourth 
eight, and the fifth twenty-four men, to swing them. About 
sixty years later Prior Wybert gave a bell of such size and 
weight that no less than thirty-two men were required to swing 
it ; a total of sixty-three ringers. One may wonder where room 
was found for this crowd of ringers in the belfry ; but possibly 
the bells were placed in a wooden bell-house on the ground. 
The fact that so many ringers were required points to the 
employment of the primitive method of a treading-plank or 
planks, fastened across the headstock, and worked somewhat on 
the ' see-saw ' principle.- 

The next step was to fasten an upright post to the stock 
from which the bell hung, and tie a rope to the top of the post. 
By pulling over the latter, which acted as a lever, the bell could 
be inverted. The next development was to attach the rope to 
a half-wheel, later increased to a three-quarter form, and 
eventually to a whole wheel, 3 with rims grooved to hold the 
rope ; the last-named is the present method. It is but an 
improved form of lever. A special precaution is necessary 
to prevent a bell when being rung from being swung completely 
over, thus making an entire revolution. To effect this, a strong 
wooden stay (30) is bolted to the stock of the bell. While the 
bell is mouth downwards, the stay points upwards ; when the 
bell is inverted, or as it is technically termed, " raised," the stay 

1 Encycl. Brit., iii. p. 689. 

2 Cf. Stahlschmidt, Ch. Bells of Kent, p. 193. 

3 For good diagrams of ancient and modern bell-wheels, see Ellacombe, 
Ch. Bells of Devon, pi. 18, and Lukis' Ch. Bells, pi. 2, the former here 
reproduced (80). 



points downwards, and when in this position is brought to a 
standstill by coming into contact with a stop or sliding-bar, 
known as the "slider" (30), which prevents it from completely 
overturning. For such an offence it was customary to exact 
a penalty from a ringer, as may be seen from the various 
Ringers' Rules quoted below. 

Several ancient bell-frames remain, evidently constructed 
for ringing, and there appear to be grounds for believing that 
ringing (in the technical sense), doubtless first of a single bell, 
and then of the whole ring in rounds, was known by the fifteenth 
century, and possibly earlier. 1 

It is a curious circumstance that though the bells on the 

Old and new forms of wheels (from Ellacombe's Devon) 

Continent are, generally speaking, far finer than those in 
England, yet nowhere do they use their bells with such effect 
as we do in this country. Ringing proper is exclusively con- 
fined to the British Isles, our Colonies, and the United States. 

We have already seen that what we should call " rings of 
bells " were in existence in England in quite early times, as at 
Canterbury and Exeter Cathedrals ; but probably they were 
usually quite small ones, not intended to be used as a "ring" 
(cf. p. 47). At all events it was not until much later that 

1 See Cocks, Ch. Bells of Bucks, p. xxviii. But the passage which he 
quotes from the Accounts of St. Lawrence, Reading, for 151 5-16, hardly 
seems convincing as evidence. 


peals of bells in tune for ringing were introduced. Even then 
for a long time five was the largest number of bells usually 
found in a tower ; when there were more they were usually two 
distinct rings in separate towers, as at St. Paul's Cathedral, 
Lincoln Cathedral, Bury St. Edmunds, York Minster, Shrews- 
bury Abbey, St. Bartholomew's Priory, London, and elsewhere. 
One of the best instances of a ring of five is that at King's 
College, Cambridge, already mentioned (p. 52), which is said 
to have been the first regular peal of bells, and was long con- 
sidered the largest in England. Of rings of eight bells, forming 
the octave or diatonic scale, Canon Raven found no evidence in 
East Anglia earlier than those at St. Margaret's, Lynn (1663), 
Horham, Suffolk (1672), and St. Peter, Mancroft, Norwich (1676). 
A ring of eight bells was cast for St. Michael, Coventry, in 1675 
by Henry Bagley, of Chacomb. The earliest recorded rings of 
eight cast by London founders are Christopher Hodson's for 
Merton College, Oxford (1680), and James Bartlett's for Denham, 
Bucks (1683). Rings often or even of twelve are not uncommon 
nowadays ; of the former there are now about no in England, 
and thirty of the latter. 1 But it may be questioned whether it 
is ever worth while to exceed the number of ten for ringing 
purposes, for it is almost impossible to distinguish the sound of 
more than ten bells when rung. 

The object of casting five or more bells in tune was evidently 
that they might be rung in combination. Fabian Stedman, 
writing in 1668, says : " Within these fifty or sixty years Changes 
were not known, or thought possible to be Rang : Then were 
invented the Sixes, being the very ground of a Six -score ; then 
the Twenty and Twenty-four, with several other Changes." At 
first the combinations were doubtless of the simple form known 
as " call-changes " ; that is, supposing that there are only three 
bells, they might be swung round in the order 1, 2, 3 twenty 
times, or till the conductor had had enough of it ; he would then 
nod his head, and they might ring 1, 3, 2 for a time, and so on. 
When the bells are rung over and over again in the same order 
from treble to tenor, they are said to be rung in " rounds," 
" changes " being variations of this order, in the manner noted. 

" Change-ringing," to quote Canon Papillon's definition, 2 " is 
the art of ringing bells in changes, so that a different ' change ' 
or rearrangement is produced at each pull of the ropes until, 
without any repetition of the same changes, the bells come back 
into ' rounds.' The general principle of all the methods of 
change-ringing is that each bell after striking in the first place 

1 See the list at the end of Chapter I V. 

2 Encycl. Brit., iii. p. 689. 



or ' lead,' works gradually up to the last place or ' behind,' and 
down again to the first, and that no bell ever shifts more than 
one place in each change. Thus the ringer of any bell knows 
that whatever his position in one change, his place in the next 
will be either the same or the place before or the place after. 
He does not have to learn by heart the different changes or 
variations of order ; nor need he, unless he is the ' conductor,' 
know the exact order of any one change. He has to bear in 
mind, firstly, which way his bell is working, viz., whether ' up ' 
from first to last place, or 'down' from last to first; secondly, 
in what place his bell is striking ; thirdly, what bell or bells are 
striking immediately before and after him ; this being ascertained 
chiefly by " rope-sight," i.e., the knack, acquired by practice, of 
seeing which rope is being pulled immediately before and after 
his own. He must also remember and apply the rules of the 
particular ' method ' which is being rung." 

Few perhaps realise the possible number of changes in a 
peal, which is of course ascertained by the mathematical formula 
of permutations. With two bells obviously only two are possible, 
and with three only six, viz. : — 

I 2 3 

3 2 I 

2 i 3 

3 i 2 

2 3 I 

I 3 2 

With each increase in the number of the bells the number of 
permutations or changes increases according to the following 
table : — 

4 bells 

5 „ 

6 „ 

i x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24 

24 x 5 = 1 20 

120x6 = 720 

7 bells 

- 720 x 7 = 5,040 
5,040 x 8 = 40,320 

With ten or twelve bells the variety of changes is, of course, 
increased to an almost incredible extent. It has been calculated 
that to ring the changes on twelve bells, at the rate of two 
strokes to the second, would require ninety-one years ! But 
though the possible number of combinations is so large, in 
actual practice, where there are eight or more bells (and it is 
only in such cases that change-ringing of any elaborate kind can 
be achieved), the number of changes rung at a time is limited. 
It necessarily depends upon the average physical capacity of 
the ringer and the amount of time at his disposal. 

A " peal " is ordinarily the ringing of all possible changes 
on a given number of bells ; but technically only the full extent 
of changes on seven bells (usually rung with a tenor " behind ") 
is called a " peal," a shorter performance being a " touch." On 

Ringing and ringers 83 

six bells the 720 changes must be repeated seven times to rank as 
a peal, and on five bells the 120 must be repeated 6 x 7 = 42 times. 
On eight or more bells 5,000 changes in round numbers are 
accepted as the minimum standard for a peal, and the peals are 
so arranged that they come into rounds at that point or there- 
abouts. A peal of 5,000 to 5,100 changes usually takes about 
three hours to accomplish. 

The fact that before a bell is rung again time has to be 
allowed for its revolution further restricts the possibilities. The 
" changes " or combinations are therefore so arranged as to keep 
each bell fairly near the place which it occupied in the last 
change, and the rule is generally observed that it must not move 
more than one place each time. Thus in the case of five bells 
a bad arrangement for the first two changes would be : — 

5 4 3 2 1 

because the fifth bell could not be struck again without an 
awkward pause intervening, and even the fourth would hardly 
have time for its revolution to be completed. The proper 
method would be 


2 13 4 5 

2 3 14 5 

or something of the same kind. 

A principle frequently adopted in arranging changes is that 
known as "hunting the treble," which means that the first bell is 
moved one place at a time " up" to the tenor's place, and then 
one place at a time back or " down " to its own place, the other 
bells preserving their natural order. A good example of this 
is Stedman's " Twenty all over," in which each of five bells is 
hunted " up " in turn. 1 The arrangement is as follows : — 

12345 32451 43512 54123 15234 

21345 34251 453'2 51423 12534 

23145 3452i 45132 5!243 12354 

23415 34512 45 J 23 5 I2 34 12345 
2 3 4 5' 

Here every change is a single, and the result of the twenty 
changes is to bring the bells round again into their proper order. 
The working of a more elaborate method for a ring of eight 
or more bells is illustrated by Canon Papillon in his article 
already cited. He takes the first twenty courses of a " plain 
course" of Grandsire Triples. 

1 See Raven, C/i. Bells of Cambs., p. 80. 


1234567 6473521 1253746 

2134576 6745312 2157364 

2314567 7654132 2513746 

3241657 7561423 5231476 

3426175 5716243 5324167 

4362715 5172634 3542617 

4637251 1527364 3456271 (20th change). 

"Thus," he says, "at the first change the 3rd bell, and at 
the fifteenth the 5th bell, according to the rule of this method, 
strikes a second time in the 3rd place. This stops the regular 
work of the bells previously in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th places, 
causing them to take a step backwards, or technically ' to 
dodge.' Otherwise the bells would come back into rounds 
at the 14th place. It is by place making and 'dodging' 
according to rules that changes can be produced. But in order 
to prevent the bells falling into place too soon, further modifi- 
cations called technically Bobs and Singles are introduced, 
altering the regular order in various ways." Examples of these 
other methods will also be found explained in the article just 

Ellacombe in his Bells of the Church gives particulars of 
some surprising feats in change-ringing, and others may be 
found in the various text-books on the subject, 1 as well as in 
the pages of Bell Netvs. In 1868 eight members of the Ancient 
Society of College Youths occupied the belfry of St. Matthew's 
Church, Bethnal Green, and rang in nine hours and twelve 
minutes a peal of Kent treble bob major, consisting of 
15,840 changes. The men were locked into the belfry, and did 
not cease ringing from 8.45 A.M. until the peal was finished.'- 2 
This record was, however, surpassed in 1872, when at Earlsheaton 
near Dewsbury in Yorkshire, a true peal of Kent treble bob 
major, consisting of no less than 16,608 changes, was rung in 
nine hours fifty minutes. 3 It should be mentioned that neither 
of the above was rung on a heavy set of bells, the Bethnal Green 
tenor being only 14^ cwt, that at Earlsheaton 14 cvvt. 

In the early part of the seventeenth century change-ringing 
was confined to peals on five bells. Fabian Stedman, whose 
Tintinnalogia was written in 1668, says : "Within these fifty or 
sixty years CJianges were not known, or thought possible to be 
Rang." It was not until late in the century that changes were 
rung on eight bells. The next century was the golden age of 
bell ringing ; then above all England deserved the name of the 
Land of Bells. Ringers all over the country organised them- 

1 See Bibliography. 

2 Ellacombe, Somerset, Supplt., p. 143. 3 Ibid. 


selves into societies with strict codes of rules. Ringing became 
one of the most popular forms of sport, ranking with hunting 
and cock-fighting, and far above cricket, football, or golf. The 
country squire, the professional man, the tradesman in the town 
and the craftsman in the village, all found admirable exercise 
and amusement in bell ringing. Town after town at this period 
recast or added to its bells, with the object of rivalling or sur- 
passing its neighbours. Ringing societies itinerated about the 
country, ringing peals in one another's belfries, and performing 
wonderful feats of precision and endurance. The interest, how- 
ever, died away by degrees, and most of the old ringing 
societies have now ceased to exist. But of late there has been 
a revival of zeal for bell ringing, and county, diocesan, and other 
societies have been founded. These deserve every encourage- 
ment ; for the more interest that is taken in bell ringing, the 
better it will be for the preservation and upkeep of both bells 
and belfries. 

Ringing societies of one kind or another have long existed. 
In early days the ringers or campanarii (see p. 176) formed a 
distinct order. It is indeed stated that the ringing of bells was 
originally assigned to priests as part of their duties, 1 and in later 
times to the ostiarhis ; but this is probably a foreign custom. 
In England the duty was allotted to deacons or clerks in minor 
orders. 2 Of such we hear as early as the twelfth century at 
Barnwell Priory, Cambridge (see p. 21), and later at Tong 
College, Shropshire, and elsewhere. In the reign of Henry III. 
(1254) a royal grant was made to the Brethren of the Gild at 
Westminster, " who are appointed to ring the great bells," of 
ioos. annually from the Exchequer. 3 The Gild of Saddlers 
{sellarii) in the City of London were granted the right of ringing 
the bells of St. Martin-le-Grand, and for doing so at the death 
of a brother they were to pay 8d. to the church. 4 At Holy 
Trinity, Coventry, some Constitutions of 1462 give instructions 
to the deacons when to ring and how to look after the bells 5 ; 
and at Tong there were two clerks in minor orders, forming a 
part of the collegiate body, whose duty it was to ring the bells 
for services. At Ludlow in 1551 there is in the churchwardens' 

1 Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 291. 

2 Our illustration (87) is from a MS. in the British Museum, shewing 
two deacons thus engaged (Royal 6 E. vi. fol. 232). 

3 Bells of the Church, p. 226 (from a Patent Roll of that date) ; cf. Toulmin 
Smith, English Gilds, p. 295. 

4 Bells of the Church, p. 492 ; Kempe, Hist, of St. Martin, p. 76. 

5 Bells of the Church, p. 468 (quoted in full). 

G Shrops. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd ser., viii. p. 34. 



accounts a payment "to the dekyns for rynging of day belle." 
Bishop Oldham of Exeter, in his statutes of 15 u, 1 directs the 
annualarii or chantry priests to sound or toll a certain number 
of times with one bell, then a full tolling of all the bells, at the 
Canonical Hours, after the accustomed manner. Campanarii 
are often mentioned in ancient records : there were an Alwoldus 
and a Benet le Seynter cavipanarii in London about 1 150 and 
1 2 16 respectively- ; and a Simon at Worcester 1226- 1266. On 
the Norman font at Belton, Lincolnshire, is sculptured a 
campanarius, clad in the camtsia, in the act of pulling two bell- 
ropes (86) 3 ; and a similar figure 
occurs on a Saxon cross at Win- 
wick, Lancashire (14). 

Of ringing societies proper, 
the earliest known is one at 
Lincoln Cathedral ; on the walls 
of the south west turret are 
painted in black-letter the names 
of several masters from 16 14 to 
1635, and above are the words : 
" The names of the Companie of 
Ringers of our Blessed Virgin 
Marie of Lincolne." 

A writer quoted below says : 
"A vast amount of learned re- 
search has been expended upon 
the history of bells and practice 
of change-ringing by archae- 
ologists and antiquarians. It 
was once a pastime with grave 
and learned men. Sir Symonds 
d'Ewes, who was lord of the 
manor of Lavenham in Suffolk, 
was fond of bell ringing, as was 
Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas ; as was also the Great Lord 
Burleigh, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth . . . and 
many other gentlemen during the last [18th] century." 

The famous Society of College Youths is the oldest existing 
company of change-ringers. 4 Sir Richard Whittington, the 

1 Ellacombe, Church Bells of Devon, p. 75. 

2 Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells, p. 72. 

:i Ellacombe, Cli. Bells of Dc7'o?i, p. 190. 

4 The following account of the Society is taken from a printed history by 
E. Drury (1866) ; see also Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 229 ff. 

Campanarius ringing bells, from 

a font at Belton, Lines. 

(From Ellacombe) 



famous Lord Mayor, founded a College of the Holy Spirit and 
St. Mary near the church of St. Martin Vintry, College Hill, 
London, which was burned in the fire of 1666. That church 
contained a ring of six bells, and the neighbouring gentry used 
to amuse themselves by chiming them in rounds. This was 
said to be the origin of the name "College Youths," 1 and the 
traditional date of the founding of the society is 1637. Subse- 
quently the title of "Ancient" was superadded. It is stated 
that on 5th November in that year Lord Brereton, Sir Cliff 
Clifton, and other "nobility and gentry" founded the society 
for the purpose of practising and promoting the art of ringing. 
At first they rang only rounds and set changes, but at length 
achieved a plain 120 on five bells. Changes proper were 
supposed to have been first rung about 1642, but little progress 
was made until Fabian Stedman published his Campanalogia in 
1677, dedicating it to this society, of which he was a member. 
About this time his " Method " was first rung by the society at 
St. Benet's Church when on a visit to Cambridge. Their first 
great performance of which we have any record was in 1684, 
when they rang three 720's (2,160 changes) on the six larger 
bells at St. Saviour's, Southwark, in Oxford Treble Bob, College 
Single, and Oxford Single respectively. The first peal of 
Grandsire Triples was accomplished in January 1689-90 at St. 
Sepulchre, Holborn, in three and three-quarter hours. Other 
" first peals " in different methods are recorded during the eigh- 
teenth century. From about 1790 to 1850 they had their head- 
quarters at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and it was then changed to 
St. Saviour, Southwark. The society can boast among its 
founders and members men in all ranks of life, from the peerage 
downwards. Among the bell-founders who took part in their 
performances are included Brian Eldridge of Chertsey, Abraham 
Rudhall of Gloucester (whose bells they rang at St. Bride's and 
St. Martin's), and Robert Patrick. Their meetings were usually 
held at the Paul's Head Tavern in Cateaton Street (now Gresham 
Street), and on their Anniversary (Nov. 5) they went in proces- 
sion to service at Bow Church, and then dined at the tavern. 
They still practise regularly on several of the principal rings 
of London, including Southwark Cathedral, St. Michael, Cornhill, 
St. Mary-le-Bovv, and Stepney. 

Next in importance is the Cumberland Society of Change 
Ringers, or ' Cumberland Youths,' said to be the successors of 
the ' London Scholars,' who were formerly friendly rivals of the 
College Youths. It is said that they adopted their new name in 
1746, after the enthusiasm aroused by the Duke of Cumberland's 
1 EUacombe, however (p. 231), casts doubts on this story of their origin. 


victory at Culloden, when he entered London in triumph and 
bells were rung. 1 This society's greatest performance is a peal 
of 12,000 Treble bob royal rung in 1784 at St. Saviour's, South- 
wark, in nine hours five minutes. 

Another famous society was that of the Union Scholars, 
founded in 171 3- 2 Their first peal was rung at St. Dunstan-in- 
the-East, and probably they were originally the parochial ringers 
of that church. In 1749 their master was John Holt, the author 
of the Grandsire Triples. Their last peal was rung in 1757, and 
the society then became merged in the others. Mr Osborn in 
his MS. account gives a complete list of their performances. 

Copies of the rules of the old ringing societies may be still 
seen hanging in many belfries. They are often enshrined in 
verse, as may be seen in the examples given below, but the 
oldest known, those of the Society of St. Stephen's Ringers at 
Bristol, which date back to the time of Queen Elizabeth, are in 
plain unvarnished prose. 3 There are thirty articles in all, from 
which the following are a selection : — 

1. None shall be of the said Society save those who shall be of honest, 
peaceable and good conversation. 

2. They shall at all times be ready to defend the said Society against all 
charges that may be brought against it. 

3. They must endeavour to gain credit by the musical exercise, etc. 

11. Everyone that is made free of the said Company shall pay to the 
Sexton fourpence for his fee. 

12. If anyone of the said Company, after the time that he shall come 
into the church to ring, shall curse or swear, or make any noise or disturb- 
ance, either in scoffing or unseemly jesting, that the party so offending shall 
pay for his offence threepence (to be divided among the Company). 

14. If anyone of the said Company shall miss to strike his Bell at the 
second sway, in the rising of a peale, he shall, for his offence, pay one penny 
to the Company. 

15. If any of the said Company shall speak, or make any manner of 
noise, when the Bells do ring, so that the ringers or any of them by that 
means may make a fault, the party so offending shall pay for his offence 
threepence, to be divided among the Company. 

16. If any of the said Company shall take a rope out of his fellow's hand, 
when the Bells [are] doing well, and do make a fault, to fly off or come too 
near he shall pay for his offence one penny to the Company. 

17. If any of the said Company do or shall, after they are come together, 
quarrel or misuse any of the said Company, before they do depart the party 
so offending shall pay for his offence sixpence, to the use of the said 

1 See for further details Bells of the Church, p. 235. 

2 See the Osborne MSS. (Add. 19,368-19,371), and Bells of the Church, 
p. 236. 

3 Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, p. 288 ; Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Gloucs., 
p. 209. 


22. If anyone of the said Society shall be so rude as to run into the belfry 
before he do kneel down and pray, as every Christian ought to do, he shall 
pay for the first offence sixpence, and for the second he shall be cast out of 
the Company. 

These rules are still read at the annual meetings of the 

Probably the earliest set in verse (though the scribe has 
endeavoured to disguise this feature) are at Scotter in Lincoln- 
shire, painted in red and black over the vestry door. 1 They are 
undated and run as follows : — 

You ringers all thinck it be to 

Who heare doe fall little & beare 

And doe cast over A valiant minde 

a bell doe forfeit y e more yow give 

to the Clarke theirfore, vnto him than 

A groute I do yow yow prove to him 

tell & if yow more kinde. 

Other examples, dating mostly from the late seventeenth 
or eighteenth century, and selected from various parts of 
England, are given below. 

Fowey, Cornwall : 2 — 

We Ring the Quick to Church, the dead to Grave, 

Good is our Use, such Usage let us have, 

Now up on end at Stay, Come let us see 

W r hat Laws are best, to keep Sobriety. 

To Swear or Curse or in a Choleric Mood 

To Strike or Quarrel, tho' he draw no Blood, 

To wear a Hat, or Spur, to o'return a Bell 

Or by unskileful handling marrs a Peal, 

Such shall pay sixpence for each single Crime, 

'Twill make him Cautious gainst another Time. 

What Forfeitures are due as here it is Exprest 

Here is a Box to take the same when y u have transgres'd 

And we the whole Society of Ringers do agree 

To use the same in Love and Unity. 

Landulph, Cornwall, has a set very much to the same effect. 3 
Hathersage, Derbyshire (about 1650): — 

You gentlemen that here wish to ring, 
See that these laws you keep in everything ; 
Or else be sure you must without delay 
The penalty thereof to the ringers pay. 
First when you do into the bellhouse come, 
Look if the ringers have convenient room ; 
For if you be a hindrance unto them, 
Fourpence you forfeit unto these gentlemen. 

1 North, Lines., p. 632. 2 Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 38. 

3 Dunkin, p. 82. 


Next if you do here intend to ring, 

With hat or spur, do not touch a string ; 

For if you do, your forfeit is for that 

Just fourpence down to pay, or lose your hat. 

If you a bell turn over, without delay 

Fourpence unto the ringers you must pay ; 

Or if you strike, miscall, or do abuse, 

You must pay fourpence for the ringers' use. 

For every oath here sworn, ere you go hence, 

Unto the poor then you must pay twelvepence ; 

And if that you desire to be enrolled 

A ringer here, these orders keep and hold. 

But whoso doth these orders disobey, 

Unto the stocks we will him take straightway ; 

There to remain until he be willing 

To pay his forfeit and the Clerk a shilling. 1 

At Shillingstone, Dorset, Dr. Raven 2 copied a set of rules 
headed by the prose injunction : — 

" Praise the Lord with Lowd Symbols : if you curse or svvare 
during the time of ringing you shall pay threepence." Below 
are the lines : — 

There is no musick play'd or sung 

Is like good Bells if well Rung 

Put off your hat coat and spurs 

And see you make no brawls or iares 

Or if you chance to curse or sware 

Be sure you shall pay sixpence here 

Or if you chance to break a stay 

Eighteenpence you shall pay 

Or if you ring with gurse or belt 

We will have sixpence or your pelt. 1767. 

Stow, Lincolnshire, though one of the latest, is one of the 
most elaborate examples : 3 — 

Articles and Orders to be Observed by Ringers. 

All you who hath a mind to Larn to Ring s. d. 

Must to the Sexton Admission money Bring 2 6 

Those Articles observed strict must be 

Or your expelld this Society 

Two Nights a Week Sirs, you must meet or pay 

This Forfiture to us without delay o 2 

Or when the Sexton for you tols a Bell 

You must appear, or else this Forfit tell o 2 

And when you come upon this Bellfrey 

If that you Noise or talk, this Forfeit pay o 1 

When you Round peals can Ring, you must pay down 

To be a change-man Sirs, just half-a-crown 2 6 

On the first change that you have Learnd to Ring 

One Shilling more must pay Sirs, that's the thing 1 o 

1 T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 91. 

2 Bells of England, p. 324. 3 North, Lines., p. 689. 


And every Ringer must spend more or Less, .f. d. 

As he thinks meet, to wish you good Success o 2 

If you would Learn to prick a peal in score 
Unto those Colledge Youths you must pay more 1 o 

When you Know Bob, Hunt, Single, Dodge compleat 
You'll not deny our Colledge youths a Treat 2 6 

On our Feast day the Twenty ninth of May 
Each member must, Sirs, just one shilling pay 1 o 

Where our accompts are passed Sirs for Truth 
And you are stiled then a Colledge Youth 
New Stewards then are chose — and, by the by 
If that you do the Stewardship deny 

Your fine must pay — as in the margin see 1 6 

Then from your Stewardship one year are free. 
Those Rules peruse well before you enter 
It is a hard task on which you venture. 
When once a member you are freely made 
Those Articles must justly be obeyed. 
So now my Lads, admission money bring 
And we will Learn you presently to ring. 2 6 

1 st March 1770. 

In the same belfry is a shorter set of rules (evidently of 
Queen Anne's time), practically identical with those at Fowey 
(see above). 

Hornsey, Middlesex (this may be called the normal type):— 

If that to ring you do come here 

You must ring well with hand and ear ; 

If that you ring in spur or hat 

A quart of Ale must pay for that. 

And if a Bell you overthrow 

Sixpence is due before you go. 

And if you curse or swear, I say, 

A shilling's due without delay. 

And if you quarrill in this place 

You shall not ring in any case. 

Polesworth, Warwickshire : — 

Who will divert themselves with ringing here 

Must nicely mind to ring with Hand and Ear, 

And if he gives his Bell an Overthrow 

Pay Sixpence a forfeit for doing so. 

He who in Ringing wears Spurs Gloves or Hat 

Pay sixpence as a forfeit for that. 
All persons that disturbance here create 
Forfeit one shilling towards the Ringers' treat 
Those that to our easy laws concent 
May Join and Ring with us we are content. 
Now in love and unity Join a pleasant peal to Ring 
Heavens bless the Church and George our Gracious King Amen 


These ringing rules are also very commonly found in Shrop- 
shire ; a good example is that at Tong, dated 1694 : — ■ 

If that to Ring you doe come here 
You must ring well with hand and eare. 

Keep stroake of time and go not out 

Or else you forfeit out of doubt. 
Our law is so concluded here ; 
For every fault a jugg of beer, 

If that you Ring with Spurr or Hat 

A jugg of beer must pay for that. 
If that you take a Rope in hand, 
These forfeits you must understand. 

Or if that you a Bell ov'r-throw 

It must cost Sixpence e're you goe. 
If in this place you sweare or curse ; 
Sixpence to pay, pull out your purse. 

Come, pay the Clerk, it is his fee ; 

For one (that Swears) shall not goe free. 
These laws are Old, and are not new ; 
Therefore the Clerk must have his due. 

The "jugg of beer" played only too prominent a part in the 
ringers' doings of the Stuart and Georgian eras. At Walsgrave 
in Warwickshire one of the bells, dated 1702, has the words : — 


a gentle hint that the ringers wanted " moistening " after their 
efforts. In some places are preserved ringers' jugs, large metal 
or earthenware vessels which contained a goodly quantity of 
liquor, and doubtless these were kept in the ringing-chamber, 
and their contents there consumed. There are examples in 
the museums at Colchester (87) and Norwich, and others are 
preserved at Clare and Hadleigh in Suffolk, and Swansea. 1 

Let us conclude this chapter with an epitaph on a ringer, 
John Jessup, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, who died in 1825, 
aged eighty : — 

" To ringing from his youth he always took delight ; 
Now his bell has rung and his soul has took its flight 
We hope to join the choir of heavenly singing, 
That far excels the harmony of ringing." 

1 See Arch.Journ., xlviii. p. 57 ; T. Dyer, Cliurcli Lore Gleanings, p. 105. 



GREAT bells or sigim appear to have been common in 
England in mediaeval times, though not perhaps to the 
same extent as in other countries. We hear of them as early 
as Norman times, as in the case of Prior Wybert's bell at 
Canterbury, which required thirty-two men to ring it (see 
PP- l 7> 79)- One or two others, as at Gloucester Cathedral, 
have survived intact until the present day or to comparatively 
recent times. Most of the great abbeys and cathedrals appear 
to have possessed bells weighing a ton or more, and even 
parish churches such as St. Margaret, Westminster, and Brailes 
in Warwickshire (to take two instances at random) possessed 
bells of exceptional size. Generally speaking, it is probably 
that the average weight of a mediaeval ring was greater than 
that of a modern one, now that lighter bells are preferred for 
ringing purposes. 

John Major, a Scotchman, writing in 1 52 1, 1 says that the 
Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds was then supposed to possess 
the largest bell in England. This is corroborated by the 
inventory taken of the abbey possessions in 1538, when the 
weights of the four great bells in the clochard were given 
respectively as 23, 50, 140, and 180 cwt, roughly 1^, 2h, 7, and 
9 tons.- The largest was presumably the successor of the great 
bell put up about 1105 (see above, p. 17). The four bells cast 
for Ely Cathedral in 1346 by John of Gloucester were also heavy 
bells, the weights of which are given in the Sacrist's rolls 3 as : — 

The bell called Jesus - - - 37 cwt. 52 lbs. 

The bell called John - - - 27 „ 4 „ 

The bell called Mary - - - 21 „ 4 „ 

The bell called Walsingham - - 18 „ 4 „ 

1 Hist. Majoris Brit. (1521), cd. Scottish Hist. Soc, 1892, p. 110. 

2 Notes and Queries, 6th Ser., i. p. 194 ; North, English Bells, p. 22. 

3 Raven, Ch. Bells of Ca/nbs., p. 7. 


9 6 


At Shrewsbury Abbey there were two rings of bells In the 
two towers, each of five bells ; those in the " great stypyll " 
weighed respectively 15, 20, 22, 25, and 30 cwt. 1 The five great 
bells of King's College, Cambridge, were estimated at 10, 17, 23, 
32, and 44 cwt. In 1527 an inventory was taken at St. Margaret, 
Westminster, which gives five bells, the largest of 14^ cwt., but 
in the Churchwardens' Accounts for 1593 it is stated that "the 
weight of the greatest bell ys MC and a half," i.e., 2i| cwt., and 
the fourth bell is given at 18 cwt. 2 qrs. 14 lbs. 2 But the new 
bells then cast seem to have been heavier than the old. 

As to the weight of an average ring in an ordinary parish 
church, much information may be gained from the inventories 
of church goods made in the reign of Edward VI. Thus in 
Berkshire there were at Aldermaston three bells weighing 
16 cwt. ; at Boxford three great bells and a saunce bell, 20 cwt. ; 
at Chieveley the same weighing 45 cwt. ; and at Hampstead 
Marshall three weighing 30 cwt. 3 It is 
instances, and similar results might be 

The largest bell now in existence is the great bell of the 
Kremlin at Moscow, but a considerable piece is now broken out 
of it. Its relation to other lesser bells will be seen from the 
following table, which gives the date, weight, and diameter 
(where known) of some of the largest bells all over the world. 4 
Only single bells are here given, though some of the tenors of 
the larger rings rival the later ones in the list. 5 

needless to multiply 
obtained from other 




Tons. Cwt. 

Ft. In. 

Moscow - 



22 8 

Trotzkoi, Russia 



Moscow .... 




Mandalay, Burmah (Mingoon) 




Moscow (St. Ivan's Church) - 

57 1 


Peking - 


14 6 

Novgorod .... 



Moscow - - - 


28 13 

1 Owen and Blakeway, Hist, of Shrewsbury, ii. p. 63. 

2 G. E. Smith, Westminster Records, pp. 44, 51. 

3 Money, Church Goods i?i Berks. ; North, Etiglish Bells, p. 21. 

4 See also Lord Grimthorpe's Clocks, Watches, and Bells (1903), p. 390 ; 
Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 417. 

5 It must be remembered that many of the weights given for the foreign 
bells are approximate estimates, lacking scientific authority. 






Tons. Cwt. 

Ft. In. 

Cologne Cathedral, Kaiserglocke (in 

south-west tower) 


25 IO 

11 3 


15th cent. 

22 O 

Lisbon Cathedral 

21 O 

Kioto, Japan - 

20 O 


Paris (Montmartre) - 


18 IO 

9 ni 


17 18 

Moscow .... 

17 l6 

Vienna (Emperor Bell) 

171 1 

17 14 

9 10 

Schaffhausen - 


9 8 


17 O 

London, St. Paul's (Great Paul) 


16 14 

9'" 6£ 

Rouen Cathedral (Amboise) destroyed 



16 I 

10 8 

Westminster (Big Ben) 


13 II 


Montreal ... - 



8 7 

Paris, Notre Dame 


11 3 

8 8 

Sens, France - - - - 


8 7 

York Minster - 


10 15 

8 4 




8 5| 

Frankfurt - 



8 6\ 

Strasburg - 



Vienna ... - 







Berne (Susanna) 



8 of 






7 9 

Rheims .... 



8 2h 

Schaffhausen - 


Magdeburg - 


8 16 




8 10 

7 9 



8 9 

Manchester Town Hall 


8 3 

7 7\ 

Lyons - 




Gorlitz .... 



Nuremberg - 


7 16 

7 7\ 


7 15 



7 12 



7 10 

7'" 6 

Halberstadt - 


7 10 


7 8 

7 7l 

Antwerp (Carolus) 

7 3 


7 1 

Beverley Minster (Great John) 


7 1 

7 3 

Rome, St. Peter 


7 ° 

7 6 

Ronen Cathedral 

6 17 

7 ok 

Halle - 


6 10 



6 5 

7 3 

9 8 








Ft. In. 





Birmingham University 




6 11* 

Oxford (Great Tom) - 




7 0" 





Newcastle Cathedral - 




6* "ni 









Brunn - - - 




Rodez, France 








6 10 

Lincoln Cathedral (Great Tom) 




6 io£ 

Downside Abbey, Somerset - 




6 10$ 

St. Paul's Cathedral (Hour Bell) 




6 log 





Bonsecours, Normandy 



Preston Town Hall, Lanes. - 




6 3 

Worcester Cathedral (Hour Bell) 




6 4i 

Bradford Town Hall, Yorks. - 




6 5i 

Bolton, Lanes. 




6 2 

Leeds Town Hall 




6 2 

Exeter Cathedral (Great Peter) 



6 4 

Chichester Cathedral - 



5 10* 

Canterbury Cathedral 




5 9 

Gloucester Cathedral 

1450 (?) 



5 H 

Tong, Shropshire 




5 4 

Great Paul of London stands at the head of our English 
great bells, and has done much to establish the reputation of its 
founders, Messrs. Taylor of Loughborough. It was cast on 
23rd November 1881, more than twenty tons of metal being 
melted down for the purpose, which yet took only four minutes 
to fill the mould ; actually 350 cwt. or 17! tons entered the 
mould, the rest being waste. The metal took six days to cool, 
and when the clay mould was broken up, the bell appeared 
beautifully smooth and perfect in surface and form. Dr. Stainer, 
the organist of St. Paul's, tested the tone, and found its note to 
be E flat. Its dimensions are : height to top of cannons, 8 ft. 
10 in. ; diameter, 9 ft. 6f in. ; and thickness at sound-bow 8f in. 
The total cost was .£3,000. It is inscribed : — 


with the founder's name and date, and the arms of the Dean 
and Chapter. 

1 1 Cor. ix. 16. 



St. Paul's Cathedral possesses another giant in its hour-bell, 
cast by Richard Phelps in 1716. It weighs 5 tons 4 cwt, and 
its diameter is 6 ft. I of in. This bell was cast from the metal 
of the old "Great Tom of Westminster," which until 1698 hung 
in a campanile opposite Westminster Hall (99). Various stories 
are current about this bell and the inscription it bore, 1 of which 


Great Tom of Westminster, before its recasting in 1716 
(From Ellacombe, Bells of the Church) 

the best known is that of the sentinel at Windsor Castle in the 
reign of William III. He was accused of sleeping at his post, 
but maintained that he heard the Westminster bell strike thirteen 
at midnight, and thereby saved himself from the threatened 

1 See Trans. St. Paul's Eccles. Soc, vi. (1907), pp. 118, 126; Ellacombe, 
Bells of the Church, p. 397. 


penalty, and his story was afterwards verified. When the 
campanile was pulled down, the bell was transferred to St. 
Paul's, but shortly afterwards cracked, and had to be recast. 
It is only used for striking the hour and for tolling at the death 
and funeral of royalty and other personages (see p. 163). 

Great Peter of York is the second largest church bell in 
England. It hangs by itself in the north-west tower of the 
minster, and was cast by C. & G. Mears of Whitechapel 
in 1845. Its dimensions are: height 7 ft. 2 in., diameter 8 ft. 
4 in. ; thickness at sound-bow 7 in. ; the note is F and the 
weight 1 of tons. It is struck twelve times every day at noon, 
and at midnight on New Year's Eve, and is occasionally tolled 
for deaths or funerals. 1 

This bell now has a formidable rival in the great bell cast for 
the neighbouring minster of Beverley by Messrs. Taylor in 1902 
(101), which weighs 7 tons 1 cwt, and has a diameter of 7 ft. 3 in. 
Its note is G ; it is rung for the last five minutes before the 
principal services, and the hours are struck upon it. It is in 
exact tune with the peal of ten bells in the North Tower (tenor 
2 tons 1 J cwt. in C) on which the quarters are chimed : and it 
has been occasionally rung as a sort of bass accompaniment to 
the peal. It bears the inscription : — 


Great Tom of Christchurch, Oxford, is the descendant of one 
of the bells of Osney Abbey, whence it was brought at the 
Dissolution, with others now hanging in the Cathedral belfry. 
The original bell, inscribed 


existed down to 161 2, when it was damaged and recast. 2 It 
again required recasting in 1680, and an unsuccessful attempt 
was made by Richard Keene of Woodstock, meeting with three 
failures. Christopher Hodson of London took his place with 
more success, and his bell still warns undergraduates to return 
to their colleges at nine o'clock, when it tolls 101 strokes, the 
original number of the students on the foundation. It hangs in 
the tower over the College gateway, hence called the Tom 
Tower, and bears a long inscription in two lines, beginning with 

Great Tom of Lincoln is another bell of widespread reputa- 
tion. There are several traditions as to its origin, but there is 

1 North, English Be/Is, p. 64. 

2 A poem relating to this event is given in the Gentleman's Mag., xcviii. 
(1828), part 2, p. 19, and Notes and Queries, 3rd Ser., ii. p. 493. 



no documentary evidence of its existence earlier than the reign 
of Elizabeth. In 16 10 we learn that it was recast in the minster 
yard by Henry Oldfield of Nottingham and Robert Newcombe 
of Leicester, its weight being then increased from 78 cwt. 7 lbs. 
to nearly 80 cwt. It hung in the north-west tower, and became 
one of the sights and sounds of Lincoln ; but being cracked in 1827 
was recast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel in 1834. It now 
weighs 5 tons 8 cwt., and has a diameter of 6 ft. \o!, in. ; the 
note is A. It is used as a clock-bell, as a sermon bell on great 
festivals and at the Assizes, and for funerals of royalty or 
local Church dignitaries ; also on Good Friday in lieu of the 
other bells. 1 

Exeter Cathedral 2 possesses two great bells, Great Peter 
and Grandison, but the latter, being the tenor of the ring, does 
not come under our present heading. The former can be 
traced back to the middle of the fourteenth century ; but it was 
certainly recast in 1484, as its present inscription shews, and 
further, the style of the inscription indicates that the work was 
done by a local founder. It was again recast in 1676 by Thomas 
Purdue of Closworth, and now bears the inscription — 


In reproducing the old inscription the founder miscalculated 
his space, and had to shorten the two final words PLENIUS AVDIT 
{cf. p. 325) into PLE. The bell is now used for the clock, and 
to ring curfew ; also daily for matins. 

At Canterbury Cathedral the great bell is known by the 
name of St. Dunstan. It is said to have been first given 
by Prior Molash in 1430, and to have weighed 8,130 lbs. 
(72 cwt. 66 lbs.), replacing Prior Hathbrand's " Dunstan," 
destroyed by the fall of the campanile in 1382. 3 In 1758 that 
bell or its successor was cracked by a blow from a hammer, 
and in 1762 it was recast by Lester & Pack of London in 
the precincts of the cathedral. The work was done by their 
foreman, William Chapman, whose name appears on the bell. 
It is now used as a clock-bell, and sometimes as a passing-bell. 

Great Peter of Gloucester has the distinction of being the 
only mediaeval signum, or great bell, now remaining in England. 

1 See for further details about this bell North, C/i. Bells of Lines., p. 
520 ff. 

2 See Ellacombe, Church lid Is of Devon, p. 72 ff. 

3 Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 196. 



It dates probably from the time when the central tower was 
rebuilt (1450- 1460), and bears the inscription — 

me fecit fieri conventus nomine Petri 

with the arms of the Abbey (crossed keys crowned) and a 
shield with three bells, the trade mark of the founder. It 
hangs in the story of the tower immediately below the other 
bells, and is not now raised, but only struck with a hammer ; 
until 1827 it used to be rung for services by eight or nine men. 
It is rung every evening (but not as a curfew bell) at 9 P.M., 
forty-nine strokes being given ; and is also sometimes used for a 

There is also what may be described as a " great bell " 
hanging in what is now a parish church, but formerly collegiate, 
that of Tongin Shropshire. 1 The " Great Bell ofTong" (105) was 
originally given in 15 18 (? 1 5 14) by Sir Harry Vernon, who lost 
his way in a forest and was guided by the sound of Tong bells. 
In gratitude he gave this bell and ordered it to be tolled " when 
any Vernon came to Tong." It was recast by Rudhall of 
Gloucester in 1720, and again by Taylor in 1892. It hangs in 
the second story of the tower, and weighs 2J tons. 

Among secular bells Big Ben of Westminster takes the first 
place ; but its history only dates back to the year 1856. There 
are two explanations of the name, firstly, that it is derived from 
Benjamin Brain, a famous boxer in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century, who bore that nickname ; on the other hand 
some maintain that it is called after Sir Benjamin Hawes, First 
Commissioner of Works at the time of its casting. 

It was originally cast by Messrs. Warner of London at 
Stockton-on-Tees, in August 1856, from the design of the late 
Lord Grimthorpe, and weighed i6| tons, with a diameter of 
gh ft. Being cast too thick, it required an enormous clapper 
and hammer to bring out the tone. Before being hung, it was 
unfortunately sounded in Palace Yard every week for the amuse- 
ment of the public, and so was very soon cracked. In 1857 a 
new bell, containing 2\ tons less metal, was cast by George 
Mears of Whitechapel, from another design by Mr. Denison 
(as he then was), and being smaller and thinner, was a much 
more satisfactory bell. It bears the inscription : — 

"This bell weighing 13 tons 10 cwt. 3 qrs. 15 lbs. was cast by George 
Mears of Whitechapel for the clock of the Houses of Parliament, under the 
direction of Edward Beckett Denison, Q.C., in the 21st year of the reign of 
Queen Victoria, and in the year of our Lord MDCCCLVIII." 

1 See Salop Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser., viii. p. 31. 


From Messrs. Taylor 

The Great Bell of Tong, Shropshire (1892) 



There are also four quarter bells, weighing from one to four 
tons, which were cast by Warner with the original Big Ben. 
Shortly after its casting the latter gave way, and for three years 
the hours were struck on the largest quarter bell. It was then 
quarter-turned, which made it possible to use it once more for 
the hours ; but it will be generally admitted that its tone is 
anything but satisfactory. 

Turning from single bells to " rings," we may mention, as 
conspicuous for size and merit, the following rings of twelve : 
St. Paul's Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral, St. Mary-le-Bow, 
Southwark Cathedral, York Minster, and St. Chad's, Shrewsbury. 
The finest ring of ten, and by far the heaviest, is that at Exeter 
Cathedral ; in weight it even surpasses those already mentioned, 
with the exception of St. Paul's. The tenor, the celebrated 
" Grandison," recast by Taylor in 1902, actually weighs 72 cwt. 
or over 3^ tons. Another fine modern ring is that at Beverley 
Minster, also cast by Taylor in that year. The bells at St. 
Paul's and Worcester are their work, but those at York, Shrews- 
bury, and St. Mary-le-Bovv come from the rival foundry at White- 
chapel. There are also fine rings in London at St. Michael, 
Cornhill (12), St. Giles, Cripplegate (12), St. Martin-in-Fields 
(12) ; St. Margaret, Westminster (10), Stepney (10), Fulham (10), 
and other churches. The ring at Southwark Cathedral is origi- 
nally the work of Samuel Knight (see p. 219), but has been a good 
deal altered. An illustration of the tenor is here given (101). 

It may be interesting for comparison to give the weights 
and sizes of some of these great rings. St. Paul's Cathedral 
comes first as the largest and heaviest ring of twelve (though 
its tenor is easily surpassed in weight by that of the ring of ten 
at Exeter ; but the weights of the St. Paul's ring are in much 
better proportion). 

St. Paul's. 










Qrs. Lbs. 



Qrs. Lbs. 


3 1 


i 6 





3 19 

A flat 




1 15 

E flat. 




O 22 

G „ 





D „ 




3 IO 




1 1 

3 21 






E flat 




2 14 

B flat. 




I 21 

D „ 





A „ 



1 1 

O 24 





2 21 





O O 

B flat 




1 Is 





2 I I 

A „ 





E flat. 




2 I I 

G „ 




n ^2 

D „ 


5 oi 


i 8 





2 O 


1 1. 



2 12 

E flat 





O O 

2 19 

B flat. 




1 26 

L> .1 











St. Mary-le-Bow, London 



Cut. Qrs. Lbs. 

8 o 21 F sharp. 

8 2 16 E. 

8 3 7 D sharp. 

9 o 2 C „ 
10 1 4 B. 

12 o 7 A sharp. 

13 2 4 G „ 






Qrs. Lbs. 



O I I 

F sharp. 



2 26 




2 5 

D sharp. 



i 6 

C sharp. 






York Minster. 

















































1 1. 








Southwark Cathedral. 


Cwt. Qr 

. Lbs 














1 1 





















Exeter Cathedral. 

Beverley Minster. 












































B flat. 


33 h 













































E flat. 










1 1 






































Among individual masterpieces of modern bell-founding, 
the lower ten of the ring of twelve at Worcester Cathedral were 
described by the late Lord Grimthorpe as " the grandest ringing 



peal in England." The new ring at Beverley Minster is said to 
be even finer. As a single bell, none surpasses the tenor at 
Lavenham, Suffolk, cast by Miles Graye of Colchester in 1625, 
and weighing 24 cwt. " She came in with such a noble sound," 
said John Carr, the ringing pilgrim, " that she vibrated a perfect 
octave." As Dr. Raven has pointed out, 1 he is not the only one 
who has noticed the absence of over-tones. But the Lavenham 
people were not much the better for their bell. The vicar wrote 
soon afterwards: " If the Bells which call us to the worship of 
God were to give them notice of a Wrestling, Football, or 
drunken Wake, O how soon should we have them flock together ! 
But Prayers and Sermon they care not for." 2 

The weight of a bell may be obtained approximately from 
its diameter. Tables of the corresponding weights and diameters 
are published in the catalogues of the principal bell-founders, and 
their respective estimates will be found tabulated together in 
some of the county histories. 15 





Rings of Twelve 
(Church Bells 

High Wycombe. 
Cambridge, St. Mary- 

Bristol, St. Mary Red- 

Liverpool, St. Nicholas. 

St. Paul's Cathedral. 
Southwark Cathedral. 
St. Bride, Fleet Street. 
St. Giles, Cripplegate. 
St. Mary-le-Bow. 
St. Michael, Comhill. 
St. Martin-in-Fields. 

Bells in England 
only included) 







Norwich, St. Peter 
Man croft. 


Christ Church Cathe- 

Shrewsbury, St. Chad. 


West Bromwich, Christ 

Ipswich, St. Mary 

Birmingham, St. Martin. 

Worcester Cathedral. 


Leeds, St. Peter. 


Wakefield Cathedral. 

York Minster. 

Rings of Ten Bells. 


- Bedford, St. Paul. 


- Wisbech, St. Peter 


- Abingdon, St. Helen. 


- Macclesfield. 


- Appleton. 


- Stockport. 


- Reading, St. Lawrence. 


- Chesterfield. 




- Derby, All Saints. 

1 Bells of England, p. 207. 2 Raven, loc. cit. 

'■'• North's Beds., p. 120; Owen's Hunts., p. 60. 

1 io 



- Duffield. 

Norfolk - 

Norwich, St. Andrew. 


- Exeter Cathedral. 


Northampton, St. Giles. 


„ St. Sidwell. 


Newcastle Cathedral. 


- Plymouth, St. Andrew. 


North Shields. 


„ King Charles M. 




- Wimborne Minster. 




- Stockton. 


Nottingham, St. Mary. 




East Retford. 


- West Ham. 


Magdalen Coll., Oxon. 


- Prittlewell. 


New Coll., Oxon. 


- Walthamstow. 


Shrewsbury, St. Mary. 


- Bristol, Christ Church. 

Somerset - 

Bath Abbey. 


,, St. James. 


Taunton, St. Mary 


„ St. Nicholas. 



„ St. Stephen. 


Wells Cathedral. 


- Gloucester, St. Michael. 




- Stroud. 




- Winchester Cathedral. 


Lichfield Cathedral. 


- Hereford Cathedral. 


Stafford, St. Mary. 


- Leominster. 



- Bishop's Stortford. 




- Hertford, All Saints. 

Suffolk - 



- St. Alban's, St. Peter. 

Bury St. Edmunds, St. 


- Ashford. 



- Canterbury Cathedral. 


Stonham Aspall. 


- Greenwich. 




- Hythe. 


Camberwell, St. Giles. 


- Leeds. 


Guildford, St. Nicholas. 


- Maidstone. 


Horsleydown, St. John. 


- Blackburn. 



- Liverpool, St. Peter. 




Manchester Cathedral. 




- Leicester, St. Margaret. 


Brighton, St. Nicholas. 


„ St. Martin. 


Lewes, St. John. 


- Loughborough. 




Melton Mowbray. 


Birmingham, St. Philip. 




Coventry, St. Michael. 


- Grantham. 




- All Hallows, Lombard 

Warwick, St. Mary. 


Westmd. - 



- St. Magnus. 




- St. Sepulchre, Holbo rn 


Dudley, St. Thomas. 


- St. Clement Danes. 


Worcester, All Saints. 


- St. Margaret, West- 


Beverley Minster. 



„ St. Mary. 


- St. Barnabas, Pimlico. 



- Chelsea, St. Luke. 






Hull, Holy Trinity. 


- Hampstead, St. 







- Kensington. 


Ripon Cathedral. 


- Poplar, All Saints. 






Selby Abbey. 


- Aylsham. 

Denbigh - 



Lynn, St. Margaret. 


Cardiff, St. John. 


Chimes and Carillons 

Among the methods of producing sounds from bells which 
have been noted in the previous chapter (p. 75) is that of 
striking a stationary bell on the outside with a hammer. It is 
that adopted for clocks which strike the hour or quarters, and of 
such chiming we shall speak elsewhere (p. 174). But the process 
can be extended to play tunes on bells by means of machinery. 
Ordinary clock-chiming is effected by a system of wires con- 
nected with small hammers striking the bells on the outside 
of the rim and connected with the works of a clock, so as to 
play an artificially-arranged chime at definite intervals. When 
it is desired to produce regular tunes, requiring a considerable 
compass of notes, the chiming hammers may be set in motion 
by similar wires, but with a third train of wheels and a chime- 
barrel with pegs ; or by means of a keyboard like that of a 
piano or organ. The latter is the arrangement usually adopted 
in foreign countries, more especially in Belgium ; but in the 
Belgian chiming machine, or carillon as it is called, with a set of 
twenty or thirty to sixty or seventy bells there is a much wider 
scope for tunes and harmonies than in English belfries. The 
carillons at Bruges and Louvain possess forty bells, and that of 
Mechlin fifty-one, while in that in use at Antwerp Cathedral there 
are forty-six. 1 

The first mention of a chiming apparatus of the simpler kind 
in England is in the will of John Baret, who died at Bury St. 
Edmunds in 1463, and left the sexton of St. Mary's church xijd. 
per annum " so he will ring and find bread and ale to his fellow- 
ship . . . and so he do the chimes smite Requiem Eternam ; also 
viijs. to keep the clock, take heed to the chimes, wind up the 
pegs and the plummets as often as need is." 2 " Chimes " are 
often mentioned in old churchwardens' accounts of town parishes, 
as for instance those of Ludlow for 1540 and following years. 3 

In Abbot Parker's Register at Gloucester Cathedral there is 
a copy of an agreement made in 1527 between the Abbot and 
Thomas Loveday, a bell-founder, in which the latter "hath 
covenanted and bargayned with the Abbot to repayre a chyme 
going vppon eight bells, and upon two ympnes, that is to say 
CJiriste Redemptor Omnium and Chorus Novae Hierusalem, well 

1 Cf. Encycl. Br//., iii. p. 689, where it is stated that there are ninety ; 
but the writer has overlooked the fact that there are two carillons, one 

2 Tymms, Wills and Inventories of Bury St. Edmunds, p. 28. 

3 Shropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser., iv. p. 36 ; cf. Wright, Camden Soc, 
vol. 102 (1869). 

I 12 


tuynable and wokemanly, by the Fest of All Saynts next 
ensuinge, for which the seid Abbot promysseth to pay the seid 
Thomas Loveday four marcs sterlinge at the fynisshement of his 
seid repayre." l 

In later days people were not very particular as to the choice 
of tunes for their church chimes ; those at Holbeach, Lincoln- 
shire, in 1776 included "Ladies of London," "Lovely Nancy," 
" Lady Chatham's Jigg," and other sprightly airs. Nineteenth- 
century taste has shown an improvement, but is still sometimes 
open to criticism. We give as specimens of the tunes now played 
on church carillons those of Pershore, Worcestershire, where the 
cycle is fortnightly, and Ludlow (since 1883). The Pershore 
carillon, put up in 1879, plays — 

Sun. St. Fulbert(A. and M. 125). 
Mon. Sicilian Mariners' Hymn. 
Toes. Home, Sweet Home. 
Wed. Bailiff's Daughter of Islington. 
Thurs. Rousseau's Dream. 
Fri. London New. 
Sat. My Lodging is on the Cold 

The Ludlow tunes are- 


Old 104th (Hanover). 


See the Conquering 



Blue Bells of Scotland. 


Old 113th. 


Sun. "We love the Place" (A. 

and M. 242). 
Mon. There's Nae Luck about the 

Tues. Last Rose of Summer. 
Wed. Manchester New. 
Thurs. Barbara Allen. 
Fri. St. Oswald (A. and M. 274). 
Sat. Blue Bells of Scotland. 

Thurs. My Lodging is on the Cold 

Fri. Life let us Cherish. 
Sat. Home, Sweet Home. 

It is obvious that with the ordinary ring of eight bells, such as 
the two instanced, the selection of tunes is limited to those within 
the compass of a single octave in the key of the tenor bell, with- 
out any accidentals. Of late years the machinery of carillons 
has been greatly improved by Messrs. Gillett of Croydon, who 
have made most of those now in use in this country. 

There is, however, a church tower in England, where the 
Belgian form of carillon may now be heard, at Cattistock in 
Dorset. The vicar appointed to this parish in 1863, Rev. H. 
Keith Barnes, was a fervent admirer of the Belgian carillons, 
and had a great desire to introduce them into his own country. 
For this purpose he rebuilt the church tower in 1876, and only 
resignation on the ground of ill-health prevented his seeing the 
carillon completely installed. This was in 1882, when thirty- 
three of the chime of thirty-five bells were in position, and shortly 

1 Bazeley, Records of Gloucester Cath., i. p. 300. 


afterwards eight large bells forming the " ring " were added. 
The chime was completed by two small bells added in 1899, the 
mechanism of the carillon having been put up under Mr. Barnes' 
successor, the Rev. R. P. Stickland. The bells are all the work 
of the famous Louvain founder, Severin van Aerschodt, except 
the two of 1899 which were cast after his death by his son 
George. The mechanical part was constructed by Messrs. Denyn 
& Somers of Mechlin, the former of whom still visits Cattistock 
every summer, to give a performance on the bells. With the 
exception of the eight for ringing, the bells are all hung "dead," 
and struck with hammers on the lip when the mechanical 
apparatus is used, or by clappers in connection with the key- 
board when played by hand. The thirty-five bells cover a 
compass of three octaves ; they play tunes hourly from 8 A.M. 
to 9 P.M. 1 

There was until recently a similar carillon at Boston, Lincoln- 
shire, also supplied by van Aerschodt, consisting of thirty-six 
small bells for chiming, besides an hour-bell and three quarter 
bells for the clock ; the hour-bell was also the tenor of the ring.' 2 
This carillon, the bells of which range from a few pounds to 
several hundredweight, was formerly very celebrated, but after 
remaining out of order for some years, was disposed of, to 
increase the ordinary ring. Good carillons also exist at Eaton 
Hall (the Duke of Westminster), Cheshire, and at Messrs. Taylor's 
foundry at Loughborough. 

1 An excellent account of these carillons will be found in Church Bells, 
15th Sept. 1905 (by the late Rev. H. T. Tilley) ; see also E. B. Osborn in 
Morning Post, 31st Dec. 19 10, and Raven, Church Bells of Dorset, p. 49. 

2 See North, Ch. Belts of Lines., p. 326. 


I. Sunday Uses 

THE modern uses of bells naturally fall into two main divi- 
sions : religious and secular (or quasi-religious). The 
former include the ringing of bells for divine service, especially 
for the festivals of the Church, and their use at funerals and 
other events of life with which the Church is naturally concerned. 
Other uses which now have purely secular associations were 
formerly of a religious character ; such are the daily morning 
and evening bells and the Pancake Bell. Wholly secular uses 
include the ringing of bells to commemorate civic or national 
events or local festivities, or such uses as the Gleaning Bell or 
ringing in cases of fires. 

It is a recognised rule that every church should have at least 
one bell, and there are a very few cases in England of the non- 
recognition of this rule. The churches of Gunton, Norfolk, 
Steene, Northants, and YVestley Waterless, Cambridgeshire, 
were reported to be without bells some years ago, and Frinton, 
Essex, was for a long time in like case. St. Enodoc, near Pad- 
stow in Cornwall, which was only disinterred from the sand some 
forty years ago, has only a ship's bell. In Pembrokeshire some 
of the smaller churches have untenanted gable-cots, as at 
Boulston and Ford. Of modern churches, St. Leonard, Ludlow, 
and the chapels-of-ease at Eardiston and St. Anne, Oswestry, in 
Shropshire are in the same condition. 

In our Rubrics and Canons there are few directions as to the 
use of church bells. In the Prayer-Book they are only mentioned 
in the Rubric at the beginning of the book, which directs that the 
curate shall say morning and evening prayer in church daily, and 
shall cause a bell to be tolled previously to summon the parish- 
ioners. But there are several allusions in the Canons of 1603. 
The 15th Canon directs the Litany to be said on Wednesday 
and Friday, and that warning shall be " given to the people by 
the tolling of a bell." The 67th orders the Passing Bell and a 
peal at funerals, in these words : — 


And when any is passing out of this life, a bell shall be tolled, and 
the Minister shall not then slack to do his last duty. And after the party's 
death, if it so fall out, there shall be rung no more than one short peal, 
and one other before the burial, and one other after the burial. 

The 88th Canon forbids the superstitious use of bells on 
unlawful festivals and other occasions, and similarly the 111th 
warns against " untimely " ringing. 

The Constitution of Archbishop Winchelsea, Ut parochiani 
( 1 300), mentions among the necessary church ornaments to be 
provided by the parishioners, campanas cum cordis} But in 
strict law a parish can only be forced to provide a bell to ring 
to church and to toll at funerals.' 2 The ordinary may allow a 
church to accept a ring of bells, but cannot force the parishioners 
to keep them in use or order. In regard to the control of the 
bells, both the incumbent and churchwardens possess certain 
rights. In view of the bells being provided by the parish, and 
of the duties of churchwardens under Canon 88, the latter 
apparently have a right of access to the belfry, subject to the 
incumbent's claim as free holder, but they have no right except 
in very special circumstances to allow the bells to be rung with- 
out his consent. A notable case in point occurred at East Brent, 
Somerset, in 1875, when the churchwarden insisted on having 
the bells rung to celebrate the passing of the Public Worship 
Regulation Act, in spite of the not unnatural opposition of the 
vicar, the redoubtable Archdeacon Denison. The latter, how- 
ever, appealed to the law, and the churchwarden was forced to 
admit himself in the wrong, and make apology. 3 

As to the ringing of church bells when they cause a nuisance, 
a leading case occurred at Hammersmith in 1724 (see below, 
p. 146), in which case a compromise was effected. 4 In 185 1 it 
was laid down that the Court of Chancery could restrain the 
ringing of bells if they were a nuisance to people living near. 
It is thus evident that though each church must have one bell 
and be allowed to ring it {i.e., when necessary, as for services or 
funerals) the ringing of a peal can be checked, or only allowed 
under certain conditions. 5 

1 Brit. Mus. Cotton MSS. Cleop. I), iii. 191 ; see Peacock, Eng. Ch. 
Furniture, p. 177 ; Raven, Bells of England, p. 78 ; and p. 21 above. 

2 Pearce v. Rector of Clapham, 1795 (Haggard's Eccles. Reports, ii. 
p. 10). 

3 Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Somerset, Supplt. p. 128. Cf furist Reports, 
N.S., vi. p. 1353 ; Law Reports, Admiralty and Eccles., i. p. 83. 

4 Simons' Reports, N.S., p. 133. 

5 See also generally on the subject Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, 
p. 245 flf. 


In pre-Reformation times the ringing of bells, if less scientific 
than in later days, was very much more general. The usual 
number of bells in each church was at least two large bells and 
one little one or " saunce " bell ; many had three, four, or five large 
bells, and sundry small and hand bells. These would be heard 
frequently in the course of every day, and not only on Sundays. 
They were rung at the canonical hours, not only to give notice 
of the services, but in order to mark the time, thus answering 
the purpose of a clock ; moreover, different methods of ringing 
denoted each particular service. Durandus : tells us that " bells 
were rung for the Divine offices twelve times during the twelve 
hours of the day, namely once at Prime and once at the last hour ; 
at Tierce they were rung three times for the second, third, and 
fourth hours, which were then chanted. In like manner, three 
times at Sext for the fifth, sixth, and seventh hours. Also 
three times at Nones for three hours. But at Vespers, which is 
the twelfth hour, not once only, but many times were they rung. 
Also in the night for Matins they were often rung to awake 
people out of sleep." The Canons of King Edgar's time (960) 
provided " that the hours be timely notified by ringing," etc. 
The rules drawn up by St. Dunstan (977) and Archbishop 
Lanfranc are also extant, dealing with the ringing of bells in 
monasteries (see p. 13). 

The Statutes of Bishop Grandison of Exeter, 2 drawn up in 
I 339, ar e also of interest in this respect : — 

Item statuimus quod omni die per annum extra feriam sextam parasceves 
et sabbato sancto cantetur solempnis missa de beata Maria in capella eiusdem 
antequam pulsetur ad primam diei ; ad quam missam in omnibus maioribus 
duplicibus festis per totum annum maxima campana ecclesie pulsetur : in 
mediis vero duplicibus secunda maior campana ; in omnibus aliis duplicibus 
tercia maior campana ; et quando Invitatorium tercio habetur, quarta maior ; 
et predicte quatuor maiores campane debeant pendere sicut Exonie in parte 
ecclesii dextra, et alie cotidie quatuor in sinistra, quarum maiores semper ad 
missam beate Marie pulsentur nisi in predictis temporibus, et semper cum 
ilia campana que pulsari debet ad missam beate Marie, pulsari debet Igni- 
tegium. Pulsabitur ad missam sic : Primo ilia campana cum qua pulsari 
debet, terminatur octo vel decern ictibus continuis, et facto bono intervallo 
. . . pulsetur cum eadem campana per dimidium miliarii et cessetur et 
iterum statim repulsetur eadem per totum tempus ac primo et cessetur ; et 
statim tercia pulsetur brevius, etc. 

To paraphrase this briefly : 

Mass was to be celebrated daily (except on Good Friday and Easter 
Eve) before ringing for Prime. The largest bell was to be rung on Greater 

1 Webb and Neale's translation, p. 94 ; cf. Ellacombe, Bells of the 
Church, p. 456, and North, English Bells, p." 112; Rock, Church of our 
Fathers (1904 ed.), iv. p. 166. 

2 North, op. ctl., p. 115. 


Double feasts, the next on Middle Doubles, and the third on all other 
feasts. When the "triple invitatory" was used, the fourth largest was to be 
rung. The larger bells were to be used for the mass of the Blessed Virgin, 
and the curfew with the same bell as had been used that morning. In ring- 
ing for mass, the bell was to give eight or ten strokes, then stop for five 
minutes and ring 500 strokes, and this repeated ; and finally the third bell 
at shorter intervals. 

As we have seen in a previous chapter (p. 85), the ringing 
was often done by deacons, and Bishop Oldham's instructions 
on this head in 151 1 have also been noted (p. 86). Besides the 
ordinary church bells, those of the guilds and chantries or 
minor altars were frequently rung. x-\t Ludlow there were 
bells known as the Lady Bell, First Mass Bell, and Guild Bell, 
besides the ordinary ring of five. 1 Similarly at St. Martin's-in- 
the-Fields, London, we hear of the " mass bell " and " morrow- 
mass bell'" 2 {cf. p. 137). 

At the Reformation ringing at the canonical hours was 
dropped, except for Mattins and Evensong. We may perhaps, 
however discern a trace of it in the custom of playing chimes 
at the hours of 3, 6, 9. and 12. The only other traces of the 
old customs that remain are the early morning and evening Ave 
bells (see below, p. 143), and the ringing of bells on Sundays at 
7 and 8, or 8 and 9, in the morning, the old " Mattins and 
Mass" bells. Hooper in his Injunctions of 1 5 5 1 3 forbids 
ringing at unseasonable times, but allows it " before services, as 
well morning as at even, to warn the people by as many 
peals or ringings as they think good." In the time of 
Edward VI. at Loughborough the " bell-master " was " to help 
to reng to sarvys if need be." In 1621 the churchwardens of 
St. Martin, Leicester, paid 3s. " ffor ringeinge to praiers every 
Sabboth and holie daie." 

In considering the various uses of our English bells, both 
past and present, in detail, we may take first the customs 
relating to Sunday rites and services, and consider what bells 
would have been heard in an average parish in mediaeval 
England, and what traces of the old customs remain, obscured 
it may be by modern usages. 

After being awakened at an early hour, perhaps 4 or 5 A.M., 
to say the morning Ave— a custom observed on Sunday and 
weekday alike — the parishioners would be summoned to Mattins 
or Tierce at 7 or 8, followed by the Mass an hour afterwards. 

1 Salop Arch. Trans., 3rd Ser., iv. p. 32. 

2 J. V. Kitto, Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Marti lis, p. 72. 

3 See Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 433. 


The preference for the later hour, when adopted in towns, may 
have been due to mere slackness in rising, but it was often 
found convenient in villages, where distances had to be traversed 
or necessary agricultural operations performed. The other 
canonical hours were also duly observed, and in addition there 
were the midday and evening Angelus or Ave Peals, the 
former at 12 or 1, the latter about 6 in the evening. At Eden- 
bridge in Kent, though the canonical hours are of course no 
longer completely observed, there is still (or was in 1887) a 
remarkably complete survival of mediaeval use. Not only are 
the " Mattins " and " Mass " bells heard at 7 and 8 respectively, 
but the Ave Peals are also rung at 1 P.M. and 6 P.M. In 
addition a " Sermon Bell " (see below) is rung at 9 A.M. and 
2 P.M., but this is probably a later usage. 

The ringing of one or more bells at an early hour on Sunday 
morning still obtains in a large number of parishes, though the 
old custom has been somewhat obscured by the introduction of 
early celebrations. But there are great divergencies of practice. 
In some churches the bell is rung at 7, in others at 8 (when 
no celebration), in others at 7.30, 9, or 10. Where the old 
" Mattins and Mass " usage is retained the usual times are 7 
and 8 or (more correctly, 9 being the canonical hour of Mass) 
8 and 9. The former times were usual in Kent, as at Cran- 
brook, Edenbridge, and Wrotham ; 1 but Biddenden and Leigh 
prefer the later hours. 2 Sometimes two bells are chimed at the 
later ringing 3 (i.e., the Mass Bell), as at Houghton Conquest, 
Marston Moretaine, and Pertenhall, Beds., Bourn, Caistor, and 
Market Rasen, Lines. ; or three bells, as at Bury and Little 
Stewkley, Hunts. At Newport Pagnell, Bucks., and Much 
Hadham, Herts., and at Shrewsbury St. Alkmund, the 7 
o'clock bell is known as the " Sermon Bell " (see below). The 
day of the month is announced by a corresponding number of 
strokes at Tingrith, Beds., Sutterton, Scothorne and Morton, 
Lines., Duddington, Northants, and Braunstone, Rutland. At 
Leckhampstead, Bucks., and Umington, Warwickshire, a bell is 
rung at 8, 9 and 10. A " Warning Bell," announcing the approach- 
ing morning service, is rung at 8 at Hayes and Offham, Kent, at 
Scothorne and elsewhere in Lincolnshire, and at 10 at West 
Mersea, Essex. But the varieties of usage in modern times 
are so great that it is impossible to particularise them all. 
Reference may, however, be made to the books on the bells of 
the various counties which comprise chapters on the ringing 

1 Also Molesworth, Hunts., and Gedney, Lines, (two at 8). 

2 As do seven parishes in Warwickshire, four in Surrey, etc. 

3 As also at Everdon, Northants, and in seven Warwickshire parishes. 


customs. 1 Meanwhile we may note a few interesting variations, 
in addition to those already given. 

At 7 A.M. the bells are chimed at Witham, Essex, and at 
Limpsfield, Kent, they are rung in summer. At Market Deeping, 
Lines., the hours of ringing are 7 and 9. At 8 A.M. the first 
three bells are chimed at Cranfield, Beds. ; at Belton in Axholme, 
Lines., five, six, seven, and eight strokes are given on the first four 
respectively. At Newnham, Kent, a bell is rung at 8.30, and at 
Hernhill in the same county at 9.30, while at Ewell it is rung 
at 10. In four Shropshire parishes bells are rung at 8 and at 
10 A.M.; at Hayes, Middlesex, at 9 and 10. At the ordinary 
ringing for the early celebration, the sanctus bell is used at 
Lindsell, Essex, and 144 strokes are given at Berden in the 
same county. 

The methods of ringing at the five old churches in Stamford 
are also of some interest. At All Saints and St. George between 
7 and 8 three bells are chimed and the tenor is then tolled ; then 
the 3rd and 4th are chimed, next, the 4th and 5th, and then the 
tenor is again tolled. At St. Mary's the hours are 8 to 9 : first 
the 3rd and 4th are chimed, then the 5th and 6th, and finally 
the tenor is tolled, x^t St. John the Baptist the first three bells 
are chimed at 7.30, and then a bell is rung for the 8.30 celebra- 
tion. At St. Michael's two bells are chimed at 8. 

The next bell to be noticed is the " Sermon Bell." Though 
generally regarded as a post-Reformation usage, due to the 
increased popularity of preaching, there is evidence that a bell 
was rung to give notice of a sermon also in mediaeval times. 
According to the Royal Injunctions of Edward VI., issued in 
1547, "all ringing and knolling of bells shall be utterly forborne 
at that time (Litany, Mass, etc.), except one bell in convenient 
time to be rung or knolled before the sermon." 2 But there is 
an earlier reference in the Rites of Durham? where we read that 
" Every Sounday in the yere there was a sermon preached in the 
Galleley at afternoone, from one of the clocke till iij ; and at xij 
of the clocke the great bell of the Galleley was toulled every 
Sounedaie iij quarters of an houre, and during the forth quarter 
till one of the clock, that all the people of the towne might have 
warnyng to come and here the word of Gode preached." 4 

When Hugh Latimer visited Melton Mowbray in 1553 there 

1 See Bibliography (second part). It must be borne in mind that here 
and throughout these chapters uses are given as existing at the dates when 
these books were respectively published. Many may now have ceased to 
exist, but verification is obviously impossible. 

2 Cranmer's Letters, ed. Parker Soc, p. 502. 

3 Published by the Surtees Soc, vol. 107, p. 39. 

4 See below, p. 136. 


was "payd for rynginge of y e great bell for master latimore 
sarmon ijd." x At the same place in 1 547 there is an entry in the 
accounts : " Itm pd to ij Ryngers w dl rong to y e S r mon when the 
bisshop of lincoln was here ij d ." In 1670 one of the duties of 
the bell-ringer at Exeter Cathedral was " to toll y e Sermon Bell 
every Sunday after the second lesson of the Quire Service when 
there is a sermon." 2 It was also sometimes rung during the Litany 
to give notice that a sermon was to follow. 3 The Puritans were 
so fond of sermons that some used to stay away from service if 
they learned there was to be no preaching ; to spite them Bishop 
Wren in 1640 directed "that the same ringing of bells should 
be observed at all times whether there was a sermon or not." 4 
The inscriptions on some tenor bells of the seventeenth century 
remind one that they were put to this special use, as at Blakesley, 
Northants : — 


The general use of this bell in the days of Elizabeth 5 may 
be partly accounted for by the fact that many churches were 
served by "readers" who were not licensed to preach, and 
accordingly the bell gave notice that a qualified preacher was 
expected. The churchwardens' accounts of the period often 
mention payments " to Mr So-and-so, a preacher." 

In many parishes this bell is rung at 8 or 9 A.M., or even at 
7, and it is difficult to distinguish its use from the "Mattins" 
or " Mass " bell, except that it is definitely known as a " Sermon 
Bell." Instances of this have already been quoted (p. 118); 
among others may be mentioned Castor, Northants, at 8 ; 
Whitwell, Rutland, at 8.30 ; Aynho, Northants, at 9. It is, 
however, more usual to ring either at 10 A.M. or immediately 
before or after the regular chiming for service, the tenor bell 
being generally used. In Warwickshire there are four places 
where it is rung at 10, and eighteen where it is rung before the 
service, the time being 10.30 at Anstey, Barston, and Tachbrook, 
10.35 to 10.45 at Cherington. At Leighton Buzzard it is rung at 
10.45 ; at Houghton Regis, Beds., before chiming, and at Bedford 
after; at Everdon and Raunds, Northants, just before 11, and 
so at Condover and Whitchurch, Salop ; and at Dunstable the 

1 North, English Bells, p. 81. 

2 Ibid., p. 82. 

3 Lathbury, Hist, of Book of Common Prayer, p. 83. 

4 North, English Bells, p. 82. 

5 The sermon bell is alluded to by Shakespeare, 2 Hen. IV., Act iv. 
sc. 2. 


sanctus bell is (or was) used. At Holy Cross, Shrewsbury, the 
Sermon Bell was formerly tolled from 10.40 to 11. In Bucks, 
there are no less than twenty-three examples of its use at 10.30, 
10.45, or 1 1 ; whereas in Essex it is unknown. There are eight 
instances in Herts., and seven in Hunts., the time varying from 
10.30 to 11. At Tingewick, Bucks., it is rung at 10.30 or 2.30, 
according to whether there is morning or afternoon service. In- 
stances where it is rung after noon are also noted below (p. 137). 

When there is a regular peal of bells, it may be assumed that 
it is generally customary to chime the bells for service, if not to 
ring in peal ; usually the latter is limited to festivals, but in 
some town churches peals are regularly rung, morning or evening 
or both. Some interesting varieties may be noted from Lincoln- 
shire, as at Louth, where the bells are rung from 9 to 10, then 
three are chimed, followed by tolling on the tenor and treble for 
five minutes each. At Friesthorpe and elsewhere each bell is 
tolled separately twelve times, followed by chiming, and then the 
tenor is tolled. At Belton in Axholme there are three peals 
between 9.30 and 10.15 (or 5.30 and 6.15 in the evening), followed 
by chiming, and then the Sermon Bell. At Sleaford each bell 
is chimed seriatim twice round, then all are chimed together ; 
finally the tenor and 2nd are tolled, with a chime in between. At 
Saxilby the day of the month is tolled before service. 

The uses at Westminster Abbey are also peculiar. At 9.30 
and 2.30 the 4th and 5th bells are chimed for five minutes, and 
the Sermon Bell is then rung (forty strokes on tenor bell) ; at 
9.45 and 2.45 the small bell in the gable of the south transept is 
tolled until the clock strikes the hour. For the Sunday evening 
nave services the small bell in the north-west tower is used. At 
Shrewsbury the former custom at all the old churches was to 
chime the bells from 9 till 10, then chime two of the smaller 
bells for half an hour, finishing with the Sermon Bell on the 
tenor for the last half-hour. Nowadays the normal use is to 
chime for a period varying from ten minutes to half an hour 
alternating with or succeeded by tolling a single bell, usually the 
tenor. Ringing peals would probably be commoner if it were 
not for the difficulty or expense of getting the ringers together. 

The chiming is usually followed by " tolling in " on the tenor 
for five or ten minutes, this being probably a survival of the 
Sermon Bell even when it is not so named. At Ettington, 
Warwick, this tolling is known as the "Surplice Bell." It is 
sometimes followed by a {ew strokes on the treble, or on the 
" ting-tang" if the church possesses one, the latter being known 
as the Priest's Bell, as it was supposed to warn him that it was 
time to put in an appearance. Many of these bells in the West 
r 1 


Midland counties, cast by Rudhall of Gloucester in the eighteenth 
century, bear the appropriate inscription : — 


At kYodsham in Cheshire the "Dagtale" bell, as it was called, 
hung outside the tower, and after the other bells had ceased 
ringing, a man used to look out, and when he saw the vicar 
coming, ring the little bell. 1 

Sometimes this little bell is the old sanctus or saunce bell of 
mediaeval days, the original use of which we deal with later ; of 
these a fair number survive, though they are often uninscribed, 
and therefore difficult to date. But most of the ting-tangs now 
in existence are either "recasts" of the old bells, or additions 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In some counties, 
especially in the North and South of England, they are rarely 
found ; they are most numerous in Bucks, and Oxon., in which 
counties it is almost the rule rather than the exception to find 
them. The adjoining counties also have a fair proportion ; and 
there are man)' in the London City churches. 

At Ware, Herts., the inventory of church goods of 1552 
mentions " one lytle belle to calle for y e priste Clarke or sexten 
when they arre absent " ; and in the churchwardens' accounts of 
many parishes from this time onwards there are items for repairs 
done to the " sanctus," " saunce," or " priest's " bell, which is even 
known by such colloquial names as the " ting-tang " or (in Kent) 
the " waggerel bell." The instances of its use (or the treble in its 
place) at the present day are too numerous to mention in any 
detail. The priest's bell also goes in some places by the name 
of the " Tantony " or " St. Anthony " bell. One of the emblems 
of St. Anthony the Hermit was a small bell attached to his 
Taustaff or suspended from the neck of his attendant pig. 2 In 
1 131, when pigs were forbidden to scavenge. any longer in the 
streets of Paris, an exception was made in favour of those of 
the monks of St. Anthony, which were allowed to be at large 
so long as each had a bell on its neck. The small bells at- 
tached to the necks of cattle in Northamptonshire used to be 
called tanthony bells, and at YVeedon Bee and Great Oakley in 
the same county, as at Lichfield Cathedral, the Priest's bell is 
known by this name. 3 In 1528 the churchwardens of Lever- 
ton, Lincolnshire, "paid for a littil sanct antony bell jd.," and at 

1 T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 97 ; see also Notes and Ouer/es, 
4th Ser., v. pp. 90, 238, 327. 

2 It may be seen in a window at Stanford, Northants. 

3 At Great Oakley it is known as tintanny. Is this by association with 
" ting-tang," or is the latter word derived from the other? 


Lamport, Northants, in 1747 9tl. was charged for "a Tantony 

In mediaeval times, however, the little bell had a different 
use. As the solemn service of the Mass went on, alike on 
Sundays and week-days, when the Preface of the Holy Trinity 
or other ordered preface was said, then three strokes of a bell 
were given at the first three words sung by the choir : " Sanctus, 
Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et 
terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis." l This bell was called 
the " Sancte " or " Saunce " bell. It was rung not only to warn 
the illiterate congregation there present to make solemn acknow- 
ledgment of the doctrine of the Trinity, but also that those 
who could not come to church might bow the head. 

A little later in the service came the Elevation of the Host, 
when again a bell was rung. 2 This was called the "Sacring" or 
"Sackering" bell. At Hemswell in Lincolnshire it was known 
as the " Agnus Bell," because at this part of the service the 
Agnus Dei was sung. 

As to these and other uses, probably no uniform practice 
prevailed. A poor parish would doubtless use the same small 
bell both at the Sanctus* and at the Elevation, and perhaps also 
at funerals and obits, and as a houseling bell. A rich parish 
would take pride in having separate bells, distinct in tone, for 
each function. There is constant mention in the Inventories of 
Church Goods of Edward VI. 's reign, of the "sanctus" or 
"saunce bell," "a lytyll bell in the steeple," as well as "sacring" 
and "hand-bells." In Cambridgeshire, at Tydd St. Giles we 
have " Item in the steeple three great Bells. Item another little 
bell standing on the ground " {i.e., the sacring bell removed from 
its place) " and a Sanctis bell." At Whittlesea St. Mary the list 
is : " Item in the steaple iij great bells a Sanctus bell and ij hand- 
bells and a Sacrey bell." 4 Winchester Cathedral at the Reforma- 
tion possessed fouf sacring bells of silver-gilt and one of gold. 5 
On the other hand there w r as a time when sanctus bell and 
sacring bell were alike unknown, and to 'the end many parishes 
seem to have had neither the one nor the other. The In- 
ventories of 1553 record only 85 of these bells in the whole of 
Suffolk, excluding Ipswich and Thetford. In Hertfordshire 
there were in 1552 only 150 small as against 477 great bells. In 
Buckinghamshire there were in 1552 82 sanctus bells and 446 

1 See North, English Bells, p. 89. 

2 See generally Micklethwaite, Ornaments of the Ral>>ic, p. 36 ; Norih, 
Chronicles of St. Alar tin, Leicester, p. 125. 

:! Raven, Cambs., p. 53. 4 Ibid. 

5 Dugdale, Monasticon, i. p. 202. 6 Raven, Bells of England, p. 317. 



great bells; in 1637,74 sanctus bells to 470 great bells. The 
number is now probably greater, owing to the general use of 
" priests' bells " in this county, many of which are the old 
" saunces," though all but five have been recast. In the In- 
ventory of Church Plate, etc., made in Lincolnshire in 1549 there 
are recorded 1,753 great bells, but only 475 sanctus bells. 

Sacring bell hung on rood-screen, Hawstead, Suffolk 

Where the parish had no sanctus or sacring bell, another 
alternative was to toll one of the ordinary bells in the tower. 
This is clearly contemplated by Archbishop Peckham in his 
Constitutions of 1281. He says, " At the Elevation of the Body 
of Christ the parishioners . . . shall adore with all devotion and 
reverence ; wherefore let them first be warned by ringing the 



little bell, and at the Elevation let the great bell be thrice 
knolled." l At Bayeux Cathedral a small sanctus bell is rung 
at the Elevation, and then all the bells in the tower are clashed 
together or " fired " for some minutes till the whole cathedral 
trembles with the roar and vibration. In dioceses as well as in 
parishes there was diversity of usage. 

A common position for the sacring bell was on the rood- 
screen ; it may still be seen there at Hawstead, Suffolk (124), and 
at Seaming, Salhouse, Yelverton, and Wiggenhall St. Germans, 
Norfolk. There used also to be one on a side-screen of a chapel 
in Cherry Hinton church, Cambridge. Sometimes the bell hung 
in a case on a wall, as it is represented on the font at Cley, 
Norfolk.'- 2 Sometimes again it developed into a whole chime of 
bells. Achurch, Northants, in 
1552 possessed " viij lyttel Belles 
in a chyme hangynge on a wele." 
The same was the case at Lind- 
ridge in Worcestershire. 3 At 
Brokenborough, Wilts., it was 
remembered that " in the tyme 
of the old lawe 18 little bells 
hung in the middle of the church 
which the pulling of one bell 
made them all ring, which was 
done at the elevation of the 
Hoste." 4 The will of John Baret 
shows that a chime of little bells 
was rung at St. Mary's, Bury St. 
Edmunds, at the Elevation, for Wheel of Sacring bells at Gerona, 
he directs the sexton to " do the S P ain " (From Ellacombe ^ 

chymes goo at y e sacry of the 

Messe.""' On the west wall of the south transept of Milton 
Abbey Church, Dorset, and on the north wall of the presbytery 
of Tewkesbury Abbey Church there are little wooden turrets 
which probably once contained a small bell or a chime. At St. 
Mary Woolnoth and St. Matthew, Friday Street, London, chimes 
of bells are mentioned in the Edwardian Inventories. 

Wheels of sacring bells are most common in Spain, as for 

1 North, English Bells, p. 86. 

2 Also those at Brooke and Marsham. See Arch, /our//., lix. (1902) 
p. 26. 

:! M. E. Walcott in Assoc. Arch/7. Soc. Reports, xi. p. 326. 
4 Britton, Wiltshire, iii. p. 131 ; cf. Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 299; 
Micklethwaite, Or/ut/>/e/its of the Rubric, p. 38. 
r ' Tymms, Wills and Inventories, p. 28. 
11 Illustrated in Hieruro/'u Anglicana (ed. Staley), ii. pi. 7. 


instance at Gerona (125), Manresa, and Toledo, and are in regular 
use. 1 The most remarkable wheel of bells was that in the Abbey 
Church of Fulda, Germany ; it bore the date 1515, and was of 
brass, 24 ft. in diameter. It was in the shape of a star, and to its 
fourteen arms were suspended about 1 50 little bells. Its axis was 
connected by silken ropes with a treadmill turned by a man who 
w r alked inside it.' 2 

Frequently the sanctus bell was placed in a bell-cote on the 
eastern gable of the nave, the rope from it hanging down into 
the chancel, so as to be accessible to the server at the altar, 
as illustrated by a manuscript in the British Museum (127). 3 
The reason for its being thus placed is clearly that it should be 
audible to the outside world. Archbishop Peckham, in his 
Constitutions of 1281, already quoted, expresses the desire that 
" at the Elevation of the Body of Christ the people who have 
not leisure daily to be present at Mass may, wherever they are, 
in houses or fields, bow their knees." 4 In his day, as we have 
seen, a large bell was rung at the Elevation, but the smaller 
sanctus bell was rung at the Sanctus, and occasionally, no doubt, 
at the Elevation also. We may also thus perhaps explain the 
very puzzling " low side windows" which occur sporadically in 
all parts of England. The same Constitutions of Archbishop 
Peckham direct that "at the time of the Elevation of the Body 
of our Lord a bell be rung on one side of the church {in uno 
latere) that the people who cannot be at daily mass . . . may 
kneel down and so gain indulgences." These words seem to 
suggest that a hand-bell was rung near the low side window, 
its shutter having first been opened, and that if there was more 
than one such window, it was rung at each. 

As to the position of the sanctus bell, there is a mention in 
the Survey of the Priory of Sandwell in Staffordshire, made 
in 1540, of "the belframe standyng between the chauncell and 
the church w' a litle sanct Ub bell in the same." 5 Here it is most 
probable that a stone bell-cote is intended by the word " bell- 
frame," though as we have seen (p. 124) a little bell was some- 
times hung on the rood-screen. But in any case the passage 
is of interest as the only one of the kind which actually alludes 
to the position of the sanctus bell. 

A fair number of mediaeval sanctus or saunce bells survive 
here and there, one or two of which are still actually hanging in 
their original cotes at the east end of the nave. These may be 

1 Street, Gothic Architecture in Spain, pp. 255, 306, 328, 345. 

2 Kircher, Musurgia, ii. p. 338 ; Bells of the Church, p. 299. 

3 10 E. iv. fol. 257. 4 North, English Bells, p. 86. 
5 Bloxam, Gothic Architecture, ii. p. 26. 




seen at Idbury, Oxon. (131), and Wrington, Somerset, both with 
inscriptions ; and uninscribed examples at Great Staughton, 
Hunts., and Brailes, Warwickshire. Among those which now 
hang in the tower the most interesting are at Dunstable, Beds. ; 
Gloucester, St. Nicholas ; Arreton, Isle of Wight ; Sherborne, 
Dorset ; Bicker and Sutterton, Lines. ; Harringworth and Slap- 
ton, Northants ; Preston, Rutland ; Fladbury, Worcestershire 
(131); Howden and Seamer, Yorkshire. At Fladbury the 
sanctus bell now hangs in the belfry -window, though this is 

Sacring bell from Bottesford, Lines. (From Ellacombe 

not its original position ; the same is the case with later 
" ting-tangs " at Bishampton, Worcestershire, and Upleadon, 
Gloucestershire. In all there are about fifty examples with 
inscriptions of pre-Reformation date, besides a considerable 
number without inscriptions, but it is very difficult to judge 
of the date of the latter. Many others have since the 
Reformation been recast into priests' bells or " ting-tangs " 
(see p. 122), and a kw have found their way to more secular 
quarters. x\n old sanctus bell from Blackmore Priory, Essex, 
is now at The Hyde, Ingatestone, and one from St. Peter, 


Colchester, at Guisnes Hall near Malclon. In 1 88 1 one was 
brought to light at the Red Lion Inn, Boston, said to be the old 
sanctus bell of Butterwick or Leverton ; * it is evidently a bell of 
great antiquity. 

Ancient sacring bells are of rarer occurrence; but there are, 
as already noted, examples in situ at Salhouse, Seaming, and 
Yelverton, Norfolk, and at Hawstead, Suffolk. In 1870 a small 
bell was found at Bottesford, Lincolnshire, walled up in the 
south aisle of the church (129). 2 It is not more than five inches 
high, and is ornamented with fieurs-de-lys and rosettes ; it is 
now in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries. A highly- 
ornamented sacring bell, dated 1555, was discovered in 1845 
under the floor of the rectory at Penton Mewsey, Hants, and 
is still preserved there. 15 Bloxam quotes other examples found 
at Barnstaple, Church Lawford (Warvv.), Warwick, and Gum- 
freston, Pembrokeshire. 4 

List of Mediaeval Sanctus Bells with Inscriptions. 

• Date about 1320- 1350. 

- For inscription, see above, p. 21. 

- By John Sturdy, c. 1450. 
Fourteenth century. 

- By John Sturdy. 

- (Impressions of coins only.) 

- From the Bury foundry ; about 1500. 

Fourteenth century. 
- Fourteenth century ; from the Bristol 

Essex - Colchester, St. Peter (now Sixteenth century; from the Bury 
in private possession) foundry. 

„ - Ingatestone (The Hyde) By Peter de Weston, about 1340. 

,, - High Laver - - About 1320- 1350. 

„ - Maldon, All Saints - The inscription is — 

+ 3Eobannes ^uapn et ^licar&ug Mynn £&£ Mecit 

Gloucs. - Bristol, St. Stephen - Fourteenth century. 
,, - „ Temple - - Fifteenth century. 

,, - Gloucester, St. Nicholas About 1500- 1530 ; the inscription is— 

•f ion ©us©e yiRDe pyms i?ys mype ne& 
CQyiixfi^ (He Bey f)ci^ nype m ojo^^g^g 

OF Syiyn©e IGr? (seep. 321). 

1 North, Lines., p. 346. 

2 Bells of the Church, p. 537; North, Lines., p. 200; Proc. Soe. Antiqs., 
2nd Ser., v. p. 24. It is, however, more likely to have been a hand-bell 
(see p. 169). 

3 Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc., ii. p. 184. 4 Gothic Architecture, ii. p. 26. 

Beds. - 

Dunstable - 

Bucks. - 

Caversfield - 




Leckhampstead - 
Stoke Hammond - 


Cambs. - 
Derby - 


Ely, Holy Trinity 



Dorset - 

Gillingham - 


Sherborne - 


_ 1) 

Heref. ■ 



Bicker - 

■ Sutterton 


Gloucs. - Buckland - - - Fourteenth century (?). 

„ - Westcote - - - Sixteenth century. 
Hants. - Arreton (Isle of Wight) By John Tonne. 

* ibus ! ntcbolaus ; seerle : & i alicia vertus ; fecit me 

- Sixteenth century. 

- ion ; me ; yey© &. "cast"). 

- ST/CQOR : DG : r^ZFGLcDG ■ 

- E. Halton. 
Northants Harringworth - - By Johannes de Colsale, about 1410. 

The inscription is : 

* BI?IIiIBl>S : ZW® : LcmOOLcft : SI^GS j ffiGfl ■ IR: 

dco; es© 

Northants Gt. Oakley - - - Sixteenth century. 

Slapton - - I^KSF^D : DC '• UU^fflBIS : 

„ Walgrave. 

Oxford - Ambrosden - - - By Peter de Weston of London, c. 1340. 

„ - Idbury(i3i) - - In original cote. 

Rutland Preston - - - Fourteenth century. 

Somerset Clapton-in-Gordano - For the inscription see below, p. 136. 

„ Keynsham - - - Sixteenth century. 

„ Wrington - - - In original cote. About 1500; from 

the Bristol foundry. 
Stafford Lichfield Cathedral. 

Warwick Long Compton - - Sixteenth century. 

„ Gt. Packington - - About 1480. 

Wilts. - Calne - From the Bristol foundry. 

Worcester Fladbury (131) - - About 1555. 

* .Sancta ;Katerina Ora JPvo £Eie Eouaroo ©reason 

„ Lindridge - - - About 1480. 

Yorkshire Bolton-on-Dearne. 
„ Dalton Holme. 

Howden - * ©F^Offi^S DGLc OJflLcD CQG 

„ Seamer - - - Dated 1548; a French bell. 

,, Terrington. 

„ York, All Saints, North 

„ York, St. Crux (now at Dated 1523 ; a Flemish bell. 


Original sanctus bell-cotes which are now untenanted, or 
contain bells of later date, are fairly common. 1 They occur at 
Longborough, Gloucestershire ; Shipdham, Norfolk ; Long 

1 See Bloxam, Gothic Architecture, ii. p. 26. 



Compton and Whichford, Warwick ; Fressingfield, Suffolk ; and 
a group in North Somerset, at Easton and Weston in Gordano, 
Portbury, and Wraxall. There is also a picturesque turret at 
Lambley, Notts., 1 at the atigle of the nave and chancel, evidently 
intended for the sanctus bell (134). We should hardly expect to 
find double sanctus bell-cotes in use, but Mr Cranage has col- 
lected evidence that such was 
the case in one or two Shrop- 
shire churches. One of these, 
at Kinnersley, has already 
been cited (p. 57), and there 
is evidence that there was one 
at Market Drayton. 2 

The use of the sacring or 
sanctus bell was condemned 
by Cranmer in his Visitation 
Articles of 1549, and was 
forbidden in the diocese of 
London by Ridley in 1550. 
But we have a curious in- 
stance of its use for another 
purpose, namely as a warning 
to the people when they were 
to join in the prayers said by 
the priest, in Jewel's contro- 
versy with Harding (1564-68). 
The former, in maintaining 
that the priest himself ought 
to speak to the people, with 
the words " Let us pray," 
complains that " M. Harding 
for ease and expedition hath 
devised a shorter way to teach 
the people by a bell-rope. 
He turned his back unto his 
brethren and speaketh two 
words aloud Pater noster ; 
and causeth the sanctus bell 
to play the part of a deacon, 
to put the people in remembrance that they must pray." 3 

The old use' has, however, been revived in recent times in 

1 Bowman, Specimens of Anct. Archit., pi. 10. 

2 Cranage, Shropshire Churches, Part x. pp. 995, 1048 ; see also Part 
viii. p. 679. 

3 Raven, Cambs., p. 55 ; North, English Bells, p. 90. 

Sanctus bell-turret at Lambley, 
Notts. (From Bowman) 


some churches where the Holy Communion is celebrated with 
full ceremonial ; or rather, one of the church bells is rung at the 
time of consecration to announce the fact to the outside world, 
like the old sanctus bell. Now that the whole service is rendered 
audibly in all our churches, the use of a bell to inform the 
congregation of the solemn moment is superfluous ; but it is 
for the benefit of the people outside. 

There are also churches where a " Sacrament " bell is now 
rung specially to announce a midday celebration. At Worfield, 
Salop, thirty-two strokes are tolled for this purpose after Mattins, 
and at Thurning, Hunts., thirty-three are similarly given. 1 A 
similar custom obtains at Boreham and Pitsea, Essex, at 
Uppingham, Rutland, and at Brackley, Northants ; at Holbeach, 
Spalding, and YYinterton, Lines., the bell is rung after the sermon, 
and at St. Botolph, Lincoln, the sanctus bell is used. At 
Staverton and Eye, Nonhants, a bell is rung at 9 and 10 
respectively to announce a celebration, and at Stamford the 
usual custom is to toll the treble after chiming for morning 
service, in place of the tenor as sermon bell. This Sacrament 
Bell is in accordance with the Injunctions of Bishop Hooper in 
1 55 1 to toll one bell 'in case there be any pause between the 
Morning Prayer and the Communion, to advertise and signify 
unto the people of the ministration of the Holy Sacrament." 
A bell is sometimes also rung at the conclusion of a midday 
celebration, as at Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks, (where the sanctus 
bell is used) ; Spalding, Lines. ; Culworth, Northants ; and 
Barcheston, Warwickshire. But this is hardly to be distinguished 
from the usage next to be discussed. 

The Sunday midday peals are singularly perplexing. Some 
of them are probably post-Reformation uses, the bell or bells 
being rung merely to give notice that there will be an afternoon 
or evening service. In the days of pluralist rectors and vicars 
it must often have been necessary to ring a bell early in the 
morning to give notice of morning service, or at or about mid- 
day to give notice of afternoon or evening service ; and such 
peals are still rung in a few places. It is possible, however, that 
the Sunday midday peal may be a survival of a much older 
use. North 2 suggests that it was probably a survival of the 
" Knolling of the Aves " (see p. 143), which were ordered to be 
discontinued by the Injunctions of 1538. Shaxton, Bishop of 
Salisbury, in that year enjoins " that the bell called the Pardon 
or Ave Bell which of long tyme hathe been used to be tolled 

1 The number of strokes has reference to the years of Our Lord's life 
on earth [cf. p. 137). 

2 C/i. Bells of Beds., p. 93. 


three tymes after and before Divine Service be not hereafter in 
any part of my Diocese any more tolled." 

At Durham, as we have seen (p. 1 19) a sermon was preached 
" every Sounday in the yere from one of the clock till three in the 
Galilee," and the great bell of the Galilee was tolled every Sunday 
from 12 to 12.45 P.M., and again from 12.45 to I P.M. On a bell 
hanging in the bell-cote between the nave and chancel at Clapton- 
in-Gordano, Somerset, is an inscription in Lombardic characters : — 


i.e., " I give the signal for the great bells to stop and for spiritual 
food to be given to the people." 1 Dr. Rock suggests that 
SIGNIS CESSANDIS denotes the cessation of the great bells, which 
were then followed by the sanctus bell, to indicate that the time 
for the instruction had arrived. It would seem, therefore, that 
in some cases at any rate, in villages like Clapton, as in cathedral 
churches like Durham, a bell or bells' were rung on Sundays at 
1 2 or 1 o'clock to give notice that there would be a sermon, or 
perhaps rather an instruction or catechising in the afternoon. 

At Aylesford in Kent the little sanctus bell was still being 
rung in 1887 2 on Sundays after morning service, and midday 
peals were rung in fourteen other Kentish churches. In 
Huntingdonshire nineteen instances are collected, in Warwick- 
shire twenty ; other places where a bell is rung at 1 P.M. are 
Barnard Castle, Durham, and Rickmansworth, Herts. What- 
ever the original ritual, it was turned to baser uses. At Louth 
it was called the " Leaving-off" bell, and was suppressed because 
it warned the servants that the mistress was leaving church, 
and that it was not safe after that to stand gossiping in the 
streets. At Watford a bell used to be rung after morning 
service " to give notice to gentlemen's servants to get their 
masters' carriages ready." In some places, as at Leigh ton 
Buzzard ; Mistley, Essex ; Llanyblodwell, Salop ; and Barston 
and Kineton, Warwickshire, it was called the " Pudding Bell," 
because the cooks took advantage of it to dish up the Sunday 
dinner in readiness for the return of the family from morning- 
service. At Tingrith, Bedfordshire, it is rung immediately after 
morning service, and is called the " Potato Bell," 3 because on 
hearing it the cook puts the potatoes in the pot for boiling. At 
Tingewick, Bucks., it is rung at 2.30, and called the " Oven 
Bell " ; at Aston Abbotts in the same county it is called the 
" Dinner Bell," as also at St. Peter, Bedford, where the treble is 

1 See Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 455, and Notes and Queries, xi., 
1855, p. 150. 

2 Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 124 ; cf. Chalfont, Bucks, (supra, p. 135). 

3 See below, p. 146. 


rung for five minutes, followed by the third and fourth for a 
similar period. 

Sometimes the midday bell is called a Sermon Bell, presum- 
ably indicating the fact that the sermon was to be preached in 
the afternoon, as we have already seen was sometimes done in 
mediaeval times (p. 119). This is the case at Thaxted, Essex 
(rung at 1 P.M.), Ridge, Herts., Pelham Brent and Pelham 
Furneaux in the same county (at 2 P.M.), and in four Bucks, 
parishes. At Wilden, Beds., Hempstead, Essex, and Hughley, 
Salop, a bell is rung at noon when there is no morning service, 
to give notice of one in the afternoon. 

Sometimes also a bell is rung in the afternoon : at 2 P.M. at 
Great Waltham, Essex, Bourn and Horncastle, Lines, (two bells), 
and formerly at Tanworth, Warwickshire. In three Lincolnshire 
parishes a bell is rung at 4 P.M. to give notice of evening service, 
and similarly at 5 at South Kelsey, while at Swineshead one bell 
is rung at 4, and two at 5. At Tanworth, Warwickshire, where 
the Sunday uses were formerly as complete as at Edenbridge in 
Kent, a bell is rung at 5 and at 6, and at Haseley in the same 
county one is rung after Evensong. At Edenbridge the Ave 
Peal is still rung at 6 P.M. 

The uses for week-day services naturally calls for little 
comment, as it is seldom that more than one bell is used, and 
that in small parishes is frequently tolled by the parson himself! 
Moreover, all such uses are obviously modern. But it is worth 
noting that at Pitsea, Essex, the day of the month is tolled 
after chiming for service, and at Shenley, Bucks., the same after 
Mattins. At Curdworth, Warwickshire thirty-three strokes are 
rung before the daily service, with reference to the years of Our 
Lord's earthly life. At Westminster Abbey the use is the same 
as on Sundays (see p. 121), except for the omission of the Sermon 
Bell ; for the 7.45 A.M. Litany the small bell in the south transept 
is rung at 7.30. At Derby formerly there was ringing every day 
for week-day services, and this ringing was kept up on Thursdays 
at St. Alkmund's church, although there was no service. 1 

An ancient week-day use which may perhaps find mention 
here is the " morrow-mass " bell rung at Newbury, Berks., at 
3 P.M. on Saturdays, to announce an early mass on Sunday 
mornings, and perhaps also to invite to confession before the 
same. 2 A " morrow-mass " bell also formed one of the ring at 
St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, London (see above, p. 117). 

1 North, English Bells, p. 151. 

2 Arch. Jet/?-/!., xlviii. p. 54 ; T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 96 ; 
Littlehales, Medieval Records of a London City Ch. (Early Eng. Text. Soc, 
125), pp. xviii., xlviii. 


II. Festivals and Daily Bells 

BESIDES the regular Sunday ringing, it is customary to 
recognise the great festivals of the Church, especially 
Christmas and Easter, by special peals, either before the services, 
or early in the morning, or on the eve of the festival. At 
Christmas ringing usually takes place on the eve, and in many 
places a peal is also rung early on Christmas morning, before the 
services begin. Or else where the bells are ordinarily chimed for 
service, they are then specially rung. In nine Bedfordshire 
parishes a peal is rung at midnight on Christmas Eve, but the 
usual hour is earlier. At Keysoe, Beds., and Sleaford, Tines., 
a peal is rung at 4 P.M. on Christmas Day. The Christmas 
bells have always been a favourite theme with poets, and the 
lines in Tennyson's In Memoriam, for instance, are too familiar 
to need quoting. They were composed by him on hearing the 
bells of Waltham Abbey in Essex. 

A singular custom, formerly in vogue at Dewsbury in 
Yorkshire, has been revived there of late years, known as 
" ringing the Devil's knell" on Christmas Eve. 1 Immediately 
after midnight the tenor bell is raised and tolled for an hour ; 
then 4x4 strokes are given, representing the "Devil's knell." 
Finally a number of strokes are given corresponding to the 
current year of our era, the devil having been supposed to die 
when Christ was born. At St. Peter's. Wolverhampton, two 
bells are rung for a quarter of an hour at 4 P.M. on Christmas Eve. 

The tenor bell at St. Martin's, Worcester, was given in 1640 
by Sir Robert Berkeley, and by his will it was to be known as 
" Berkeley's bell," and was to be rung nightly for a few weeks 
before Christmas. For this reason it came to be known as the 
" plum-pudding " bell. 2 

Easter ringing is on the same lines as at Christmas, though 

1 See Poppleton in Yorks. Arch. Soc. Trans., xvii. p. 439. 

2 Noake, J J 'ores. Notes and Queries, p. 214 ; Assoc. Are////. Soc. Reports, 
xxv. p. 579. 



not so universal, and is more usually early on the Sunday 
morning than on the previous eve. At Turvey in Bedfordshire, 
a peal is rung after the afternoon service. The other festivals 
are more rarely observed ; but there are several places where 
the Epiphany, the Ascension, and Trinity Sunday are specially 
recognised, as also Whitsuntide, as at Newcastle-on-Tyne. At 
Laindon Hills in Essex a peal is rung on Ascension Eve, and 
on the day itself a peal at an early hour is not uncommon. At 
Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, this takes place at 4.30 A.M., and a 
hymn is sung on the top of the tower. There are three 
instances of ringing on this day in Herts., four in Salop, and 
six in Warwickshire ; also at North Coates and Heydour, Lines. 
Trinity Sunday is observed at Eversholt, Beds., Broomfield, 
Essex, Lincoln (St. Peter-at-Arches and St. Peter-at-Gowts), 
and in four Warwickshire parishes. The Epiphany is observed 
at Tilsworth, Beds. ; Swineshead, Lines. ; Anstey and Shilton, 

In many country parishes, as for instance in twenty-one in 
Warwickshire and many in Lincolnshire, it is customary to 
ring peals regularly in Advent, sometimes beginning as early 
as the first week in November. At Sheffield there is ringing 
every Tuesday evening from the middle of September to Shrove 
Tuesday. North gives some interesting variations of the Advent 
customs. 1 At Claxby, Lines., they ring once in the first week, 
twice in the second, and so on ; at South Kelsey twice a week 
from Old Martinmas to Christmas, and at Epworth on Thurs- 
days and Saturdays from Martinmas to Shrove Tuesday. In 
four Northamptonshire parishes the bells are rung early on 
Monday mornings, and at Great Yarmouth after the close of 
Evensong on the Sundays. At Market Rasen, ringing is con • 
fined to the first Sunday in Advent, but at Moreton Pinkney, 
Northants, the bells are rung every evening of the last week, 
and on the three mornings preceding Christmas Day. These 
latter customs clearly have a religious significance, and refer to 
the joyful hopes which the coming of Christmas inspired ; but 
the other regular weekly ringings are merely undertaken with 
a view to practising for that season, and also to occupy the long 
winter evenings. 

Certain saints' days are also specially honoured in many 
places. It is a frequent practice to honour the patronal or 
dedication festival of the church in this way, as at Ardeley, 
Herts. (St Laurence, 10th August), Tilsworth, Beds. (All Saints), 
and elsewhere in Lincoln, Salop, and Warwick. At Sibsey, Lines., 
where the church is dedicated to St. Margaret, a peal is rung 
1 English Hells, p. 141. 


on the first Monday in August, the nearest to the date in the 
Old Style calendar. At Milton Ernest, Beds., a peal is rung on 
the second Sunday in July, although the church is dedicated 
to All Saints. Apart from these instances, other saints' days 
are honoured for various reasons by the ringing of peals : at 
Tilsworth, Beds., and at Lincoln Cathedral x on Lady Day ; 
at Loughborough formerly on the feast of the Purification ; at 
Stoke-on-Tern, Salop, on All Saints' Day; at Bozeat, Northants, 
on St. Andrew's Day. In mediaeval times ringing was also com- 
mon on All Hallow Eve and All Souls' Day. 2 It is stated that 
in some parishes in the West of England a muffled peal is rung 
on the Holy Innocents' Day ; North mentions Ross, Heref. ; 
Selworthy, Somerset ; Cirencester, Maisemore, Great Rissington, 
and Woodchester, Gloucs. ; Thistleton Dyer mentions Wells 
Cathedral, Leigh-on-Mendip, and Norton near Evesham. 3 St. 
Thomas' Day is the occasion of ringing in nine Warwickshire 
parishes and seven in Bucks. ; but it is supposed that the 
reason for this was the distribution of a parish dole on that day. 
At Ellesborough in Bucks. St. Catherine's Day (25th November) 
is the day on which Advent practice-ringing begins, but accord- 
ing to tradition ringing on this day was universal in the county, 
to commemorate the deliverance of Queen Catherine (probably 
of Arragon), who was lost in a fog on this day. Similarly bells 
were rung on St. James' Day in the reign of James I. for his 
coronation, and on St. Hugh's Day (17th November), for the 
accession of Queen Elizabeth. 4 At Messingham in Lines, the 
bells are rung at 1 1 a.m. on all saints' days when there is no 
service. At St. Nicholas, Warwick, there is ringing on Easter 
Tuesday (probably for secular reasons) ; 5 at Bidford and Sutton 
Coldfield, Warwick, on Trinity Monday. There was formerly 
also ringing on Easter Monday at Ludlow and Leicester. The 
first Sunday in Advent is celebrated at Market Rasen, Lines., 
by an early peal ; and in six Northamptonshire parishes a peal 
is rung on Mondays in Advent at 5 A.M. But these uses come 
rather under the head of Advent ringing (p. 139). 

Lenten uses of any kind are rightly rare, as it is a tradition 
of the Church that the bells should be silent during this season ; 
but it is stated that they used to be rung daily at 11 at 

1 See North, English Bells, p. 155. 

2 Op. elf., p. 153. 

3 Op. cit., p. 144 ; T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 103. 

4 North, op. cit., p. 157. 

5 As also at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where it is for the election of church- 

6 North, op. cit., p. 148. 


Cottingham, Northants, and at Caldecote, Rutland. 1 At Evers- 
holt, Beds., a bell is rung on Ash Wednesday at 8 a.m. as on 
Sundays, and the same on Good Friday (as also at Westbury, 
Salop, and at Offchurch and Shottesvvell, Warwick). The latter 
day indeed has its special mode of observance in several places. 
At St. Botolph, Lincoln, the tenor is tolled at 8, 9, and 10.30, 
and is muffled at 12 for the Three Hours' service. At Laindon 
Hills, Essex, it is similarly muffled at 3 P.M. and thirty-three 
strokes are tolled, representing the years of Our Lord's life 
on earth, as also at Ayot St. Peter, Herts. At Tillingham, 
Essex, the tenor is tolled as a minute-bell during the Three 
Hours. A muffled peal is rung at Easton, Hunts, (a recent 

Ringing on New Year's Eve is rather secular than religious, 
and is in fact not an ancient use, but owes its origin to the 
introduction of change-ringing. The usual custom, as is well 
known, is to ring the old year out and the new year in at mid- 
night, though in some places, as at Condover and Tibberton, 
Salop, Moreton and Widdington, Essex, a peal is rung earlier in 
the evening. In any case there is no custom which is now more 
generally observed, though even this has a tendency to die out 
in some parts of England. One method of ringing is to toll one 
bell only until the clock strikes twelve ; in other cases the bells 
are rung muffled up to midnight, when the muffles are removed, 
and a merry " open " peal bursts forth. Either practice is to be 
preferred to that of ringing continuously before and after the 
hour, which obscures the significance of the performance. At 
Braughing in Herts., a well-known ringing centre, peals are rung 
from 8 to 10 P.M., then a muffled peal from 11. 15 to midnight, 
followed by an " open " peal for an hour. Sometimes, where there 
is no striking clock, twelve strokes are tolled at midnight, the 
peal being interrupted for the purpose, as in five Essex parishes. 
A peal is regularly rung at St. Paul's Cathedral, as shown in our 
illustration (75). Ringing on New Year's Day in the morning 
is also fairly common ; at Meppershall, Beds., a peal is rung at 
daybreak. At Tibberton, Salop, 13th January is celebrated as 
New Year's Day, Old Style. 

Ringing on the occasion of Harvest Festivals may appro- 
priately be dealt with here ; of this there are ten instances in 
Essex, seven in Shropshire, five in Warwickshire, and others in 
various parts of the country. But the custom is, of course, quite 
modern. Other parochial occasions of a religious character or 
connected with Church affairs are also celebrated in the same 
way, such as Sunday School festivals, choir feasts, or annual 
1 See also North, op. a'/., p. 146. 


parochial festivals. The latter, when of ancient origin, are 
usually held on the day of the patron saint of the church 
{cf. p. 1 39). 

One more ecclesiastical use remains to be chronicled. This 
is the ringing of the Pancake Bell, originally to give the 
parishioners their one last chance of getting shriven before Lent 
set in. 1 The day was also celebrated by the eating of cakes 
made with butter, as the last opportunity of tasting that luxury 
for forty days ; hence the name given to the bell. In Poor 
Robin s Almanack for 1684 is the verse : — 

" Hark I hear the Pancake Bell 
And fritters make a gallant smell." 

The reason for its frequent survival is that Shrove Tuesday 
used to be a great general holiday, especially for the apprentices, 
with bell-jangling, cock-fighting, football, and other amuse- 
ments. Usually it is rung at 1 1 o'clock or noon, either one or 
two bells being used ; in the latter case they were supposed to 
produce the sound "Pan-Cake." In 1882 there were over fifty 
examples of this custom in Lincolnshire, and it was also very 
common in Leicestershire and Northants. More recent writers 
record fewer examples, and it is now rapidly dying out ; but 
there are nine instances in Bucks., seven in Hunts., eight in 
Salop, and thirteen in Warwickshire. In Essex and Kent it 
appears to have completely fallen into disuse, and Stahlschmidt 
only records one instance in Herts. (Ashwell) and one in Surrey 
(Mortlake). At Stamford Baron, Northants, each bell is separately 
tolled, while at Daventry and Staverton in that county the bell 
is muffled ! At Richmond in Yorkshire there is a bell of curious 
form on the top of the tower of Holy Trinity Church which is 
only used for ringing the Pancake Bell. 

Another use which partook of both an ecclesiastical and a 
secular character was that of the Ave Bells, or morning and 
evening peals. These bells were rung about the hours when 
people rise and when they retire to bed ; and they were evidently 
instituted in order to remind them not to do so without saying 
their prayers. " The custom," says Abbot Gasquet,' 2 " probably 
grew out of the curfew, which originally was a civil notification 
of the time to extinguish all lights ; but in the fourteenth century 
it was turned into a universal religious ceremony in honour of 
Our Lord's Incarnation and His Blessed Mother. In 1347 
Ralph de Salopia, Bishop of Bath and Wells, desired the cathedral 

1 See North, English Bells, p. 168, for fuller details. 

2 Parish Life in Mediaeval England, p. 162. 


clergy to say, the first thing in the morning and the last thing at 
night, five Aves for all benefactors, living or dead. 1 Some few 
years before, Pope John XXII. had urged the habit of saying 
three Aves at curfew time. The practice soon spread, and 
Archbishop Arundel of Canterbury in 1399, at the earnest 
request of King Henry IV., ordered the usage of saluting the 
Mother of God the first thing in the early morning and the last 
thing at night, to be universally adopted in the province 'at 
daybreak and at the curfew,' and the bell that was then rung 
was called by our English ancestors the ' Gabriel Bell,' in 
memory of that archangel's salutation of Our Lady." Abroad a 
midday Ave was also rung, but only one or two instances of this 
are recorded in England, where it was not in use before the 
sixteenth century. At Cropredy in Oxfordshire, in 15 12, the 
vicar, Roger Lupton, left money for the churchwardens to "toll 
dayly the Avees bell at sex of the clok in the mornyng, and at 
xij of the clok at noone, and at four of the clok at afternoon."' 2 
A note in the Bury St. Edmunds book, says Dr. Gasquet, gives 
the times of tolling the Angelus in that town as 4 A.M. and 
9 P.M. in summer ; and 6 A.M. and 8 P.M. in winter. The 
morning bell and evening bell or curfew still survive in many 
places, but their significance is now purely secular, as it was 

Sir Thomas Browne in his Rcligio Medici (1643) has an 
interesting reference to the Ave Bell and its former associations : 
" I could never hear the Ave Bell without an elevation, nor think 
a sufficient warrant because they erred in one circumstance, for 
me to err in all, i.e., in silent and dumb contempte. Whilst 
therefore they direct their devotions to Her, I offer mine to God ; 
and rectify the errors of their prayers by rightly ordering my 

It is doubtless owing to its secular usefulness that the 
morning bell in many cases owes its continuance. At Louth, 
where sixty years ago it was rung at 5 A.M., it was called the 
"getting-up bell" ; at Tydd St. Mary, Lines., it used to be rung 
" to call men and carts to work." The old fourth at St. Michael's, 
Coventry, now the tenor at St. John's Church in that town, has 
the inscription — 


1 Cf. Rock, Church of our Fathers (1903 ed.), iii. p. 276. 

- Royce, Cropredy ( Irons. North Ox/. Arch. Soc, 1879), P- 43- Qf. Rock, 
loc. cit. See also what is said on p. 135 ft"., about ringing at midday on 


and references to this secular use appear occasionally in other 
bell-inscriptions : — 

SUrge inane SerVite £>e0 - "Arise betimes to serve thy God" 

(Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk). 

LECTVM FVGE DISCVTE SOMNVM "Fly from bed and shake off 

sleep" (Hoincastle, Lines.). 

LABOREM SIGNO ET REQVIEM - "I mark out toil and rest" 

(Friskney, Lines.). 


The Ave Bells were frequently dedicated to the angel 
Gabriel, the Angel of the Salutation. Hence they are often 
inscribed, as for instance that in the clock-tower at St. 
Albans — 

ZlDissi H)e Cells Ibabeo IRomen Gabrielis 1 

" I have the name of Gabriel sent from heaven," 

and were even known as " Gabriel Bells." The bell in the 
market tower at Lewes, which is inscribed (in a bungled version 
of the above) — 

mentt fcefcens babeo nomeit gabrielis 

is or was known as " Old Gabriel." 

Where the morning bell is still rung, the hour varies con- 
siderably ; most commonly it is rung at 5 or 6 o'clock, but the 
hour has been changed to 7 or 8 in many places. There are 
a few parishes in which a complete survival of the Ave Bells 
may be found, at least where a bell is rung morning, midday, 
or evening ; but it is possible that in some cases the custom 
is purely secular and of modern introduction. At Kingscliffe, 
Northants, bells are rung at 7, II, 1, 4, and 8 (7 in winter), and 
the following instances may also be noted from the counties 
of Lincoln, Northants, and Yorkshire : — 

6 a.m., noon, 6 P.M. - - - - Thorne, Yorks. ; Belton, Crovvle, and 

Epworth in Axholme, Lines. 

6 A.M., noon, 8 p.m.- - - - Ecclesfield, Yorks. 

4, 5, or 6 a.m., noon, 8 p.m. - - Brixworth, Northants. 

7 a.m., 1 P.M., 8 P.M. - - - Daventry, Northants. 
5 and 6 a.m., 6 p.m. - - - Tickhill, Yorks. 

8 A.m., 12 and 1 P.M. - - - Bradden, Northants. 
12 and 1 P.M., 6 P.M. - - - Pontefract, Yorks. 

We give below some instances of early morning bells, and 
the times at which they are rung : — 

1 For other varieties see Chapter XII, 


4 a.m. - Canterbury St. George, Dartford, and Sandwich, Kent ; Brix- 

worth, Northants. 

5 a.m. - Ash, Kent ; Moulton, King's Sutton, Towcester, Northants ; 

S. Luffenham, Rutland ; Ikirgh and Gedney, Lines. ; Allesley 

and Nuneaton, Warw. ; and Lutterworth, Leics. (6 in winter). 

Newport Pagnell (summer only). Harlow, Essex (winter 

5.30 a.m. Newport, Salop (6 in winter, known as "Apprentice Bell"). 
5.45 A.M. Canterbury Cathedral and Ludlow (6.45 in winter). 

6 A.M. - Buckingham ; Barnard Castle ; Wem, Salop ; Kineton and 

Stratford, Warw. ; ten instances in Lines. (Belton in Axholme, 
summer only) ; Leicester St. Martin, and Loughborough (7 
in winter) ; Ecclesfield and Thorne, Yorks. 

7 A.M. - Coleshill, Warwickshire ; Winslow, Bucks ; Kingscliffe, North- 

ants ; Rippingale, Lines, (the three last at 8 in winter) ; 

Gisburne and Kirby Malzeard, Yorks. (the latter in summer 

8a.m. - Eversholt, Beds.; Smeeth, Kent; Thistleton, Rutland; Folk- 

ingham, Lines. : Finedon, etc., Northants ; Dedham, Essex 

(Tuesday only) ; Birkin, Yorks. 
9 A.M. - Harwich. 
9.30 a.m. Exhall by Coventry (Warwick). 

At Tickhill, Yorkshire, a large bell is rung at 5 A.M. and a 
small one at 6 A.M. At Sleaford, Lines., the day of the month 
is tolled at 6. At Westminster Abbey the little bell is rung 
daily at 8.45 A.M. (and also at 1.30 P.M.) for three minutes, 
followed by forty strokes on the tenor, of which practice various 
explanations are given. One is that it refers to Henry VII.'s 
appointment of daily masses to be said perpetually after his 
death, before each of which forty strokes were to be tolled. 
Another is that it alludes to the forty royal scholars on the 
foundation of Westminster School ; and a third that it com- 
memorates the forty years of Dean Goodman's reign in the 
sixteenth century (the least likely explanation of all). In the 
Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, 
for 1633 is the entry — 

For the tolling and ringing of the Saint's bell every working day in the 
morning between five and six of the clock, to give notice for people to come 
to prayers, 10s. 

This is not only interesting as a survival of the Ave Bell 
in its religious aspect, but also as indicating the early hour at 
which Mattins was said at that time. At St. Peter's, Notting- 
ham, the seventh bell is stated to have been given by Margery 
Doubleday in 1544, and formerly bore a prayer for her soul. 
She was a washerwoman, and not only gave the bell, but also 
an endowment of 20s. a year to the sexton on condition of 
ringing the bell every morning at 4 a.m. to arouse the washer- 


women of the town to their daily labours. The bell is still rung 
for about three months in the year, but not till 6 A.M. 1 

At Hammersmith an early morning bell used to be rung at 
5 A.M., but in 1724 one of the parishioners complained that it 
disturbed him, and it was stopped on condition of his agreeing 
to erect a cupola and clock for the church.^ 

As already noted, the midday Ave Bell was seldom rung in 
England. But there are man)- places in which a bell has been 
rung daily at this hour in recent times, and we must therefore 
look for a modern explanation of the usage. It is called the 
" dinner bell " at Milton Malsor, Northants, and the " labourer's 
bell " at Spratton in the same county ; and must therefore be 
assumed to have been instituted to call the labourers in the 
fields to dinner. In both cases it is rung at noon, the ordinary 
hour for the dinner of a working man ; as also at Brailes, 
Warwickshire ; Turvey, Beds. ; Earl's Barton and Finedon, 
Northants, and Kimbolton, Hunts. At Gateshead it is called 
the "potato bell" {cf. p. 136). There are three instances in 
Leicestershire, all of modern introduction. But in other places 
it is rung at 1 P.M., as at St. Neot's (Hunts.), Kingscliffe 
(Northants), and in three parishes in Warwickshire and five in 
Bucks. At Cranfield, Beds., it is rung at I o'clock and again 
at 2 ; and at Bradden, Northants, and Pontefract, as already 
noted, at noon and 1. At Braithwell, Yorks., the day of the 
month is tolled. 

The Curfew bell has been made familiar to us by poets, such 
as Milton and Gray, and there are even allusions to it in Shake- 
speare. 3 Originally a purely secular custom, it did not acquire 
a religious significance, as we have seen, till the later Middle 
Ages. It was rung in Normandy at an early date, and its use 
was enforced throughout England, to some extent apparently by 
King Alfred, but definitely by William the Conqueror in 1068. 
His object was probably to prevent nocturnal gatherings of 
disaffected subjects. The law of Curfew or ignitegium was 
abolished in 1100, but it is fairly certain that the custom was by 
no means discontinued, as it was found a great convenience to 
have a bell rung in the late evening. And when the Ave Bells 
were introduced in the fourteenth century, the evening bell 
served to perform a double function. But while the proper time 
for the former was 6 P.M. or about sunset, the Curfew was usually 
rung two or three hours later, at 7, 8, or 9. Traces of the former 
usage still survive, as we shall see, but the secular custom not 

1 Reliquary, xiii. p. 87 ; North, English Bells, p. 184. 

2 Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 255 ; see above, p. 115. 

3 Tempest, Act v. Sc. 1 ; King Lear, Act iii. Sc. 4. 


unnaturally held its ground with greater tenacity, and there are 
still numerous instances of its being rung at the later hour. 

It has moreover been utilised for various purposes. At 
Oxford the 101 strokes rung on Great Tom of Christchurch at 
9 P.M. are familiar to all Oxford men, the number of strokes 
being (as Verdant Green's cicerone pointed out) " the number of 
students on the foundation." Here the object of the ringing is 
to warn all students to return to their respective colleges. In 
various parts of the country there are records of people who lost 
their way in unenclosed country, and only recovered it, or were 
saved from danger of drowning or otherwise, by hearing the 
evening Ave Bell ; and in gratitude left funds to ensure its con- 
tinuance. Such stories are current at York ; Lambourne, Berks.; 
Mancetter, Warwickshire ; and Chelsea, where a bell still exists 
given by William Ashburnham to commemorate his escape from 
falling into the Thames. 1 In many parishes the Curfew is rung 
only in the winter months, evidently because at that time alone 
were wayfarers likely to miscarry. At Kirton-in-Lindsey a bell 
is still rung at 7 P.M. in winter " on Tuesday to guide travellers 
from Gainsborough market, on Thursday from Brigg market, 
and on Saturday from Kirton market." 2 In some towns again, 
the Curfew furnished a useful signal for closing shops and public- 
houses. 3 This was the case at Newcastle-on-Tyne early in the 
last century. In 1291 no wine was to be drawn and public- 
houses were to be closed when Curfew had sounded. Elizabeth 
enacted : " Item that the keeper of any alehouse that suffers any 
townsman to remain in his house after the Curfew bell hath rung 
shall forfeit 1 2d. to be paid presently or else to remain in ward 
that night." The shops in Cheapside had to be closed when Bow 
Bell was rung at 9, and perhaps it was to give shopkeepers 
another hour to sell their goods that Curfew was postponed to 
that hour in many places, as it is to this day. 

With reference to " Bow Bell," Stow 4 tells us that the old 
steeple of St. Mary-le-Bow Church was rebuilt in 1469, and it 
was then ordained by the Common Council that the Bow 
Bells " should be nightly rung at nine of the clock." This 
appears to have been anxiously looked for by the apprentices 
of the neighbourhood, as indicating closing time. As Stow 
says : " This bell being usually rung somewhat late, as seemed 

1 See M. Walcott, Sacred Archaeology, p. 68 ; Davies, Chelsea Old 
Church, p. 21 ; Nichols, Bibl. Topogr. A'?-/}., ix. p. 111. 

2 North, Lines., p. 237. 

3 Gentleman's Mag,, xciii. pt. 2 (1823), p. 507. 

4 Ed. Kingsford, i. p. 255; cf. Trans. St. Paul's Eccles. X.v., vi. (1907) 
p 120. 


to the young men prentices and others in Cheape, they made 
and set up a rhyme against the clerk, as followeth : — 

" ' Clarke of the Bow bell, with thy yellow locks, 
For thy late ringing thy head shall have knocks.' 

Whereunto replying the clerk wrote " (believing in a soft answer 
to turn away wrath) — 

'"Children of Cheape, hold you all still, 

For you shall have the Bow bell rung at your will.'" 

To quote the same writer again : " Shortly after, John Donne, 
mercer, by his testament dated 1472 gave two tenements to the 
maintenance of Bow Bell, the same to be rung as aforesaid and 
other things to be observed. ... It is said that William 
Copland, tailor, being churchwarden 15 15, gave the great bell 
to be rung nightly at nine of the clock." 

In London the ringing of the Curfew must have been pretty 
general. Elsewhere Stow says : " The church of St Martin's-le- 
Grand, with those of Bow, St Giles Cripplegate, and Barkin, 
had its Curfew bell long after the servile injunction laid on the 
Londoners had ceased." 1 And another writer says : " Among 
the charges directed for the wardmote inquests in the second 
mayoralty of Sir Henry Colet (1495) it is said 'Also yf there 
be anye paryshe clerke that ryngeth curfewe after the curfewe 
be ronge at Bowe chyrche or Saint Brydes chyrche or Saint 
Gyles without Criplegat, all suche to be presented."" 2 In 1848 
the Curfew was rung at 8 P.M. at St. Edmund, Lombard Street ; 
St. Botolph, Bishopsgate ; St. Michael, Queenhithe ; St. Antholin, 
Budge Row ; Christ Church, Spitalfields ; and Shoreditch. At 
St. Mildred, Bread Street, it was discontinued in 1847. 3 

The ringing of the Curfew is still fairly common in England. 
It is rung in about twenty parishes in Northants and Lincoln- 
shire, eighteen in Warwickshire, twelve in Kent, and ten in the 
West Riding of Yorkshire. It is also rung at some cathedrals, 
as at Canterbury and at Exeter, where Great Peter is used. 
In Bedfordshire it is not now rung at all ; in Surrey only at 
Chertsey. The usual hour is at 8, or at 7 on Saturdays, 
and on Sundays it is as a rule omitted, as interfering with 
evening service. Where it is only rung in winter, the usual 
period is from Michaelmas to Lady Day. Among the places 
where it is rung at 9 P.M. are Cambridge, Shrewsbury (St. Mary), 
Barnard Castle, Richmond (Yorks.), Harwich, Northampton, 

1 Ed. Strype, i., Bk. iii. p. 106. 

2 Knight, Life of Dean Colet, p. 6. 

3 fourti. Brit. Arch. Assoc, iv. p. 135, where a list is also given of places 
in England where curfew was rung in 1848. 


Towcester, and Stamford. At Leicester St. Martin and else- 
where it is or was known as "Bow Bell." 1 Frequently the 
day of the month is indicated afterwards by the corresponding 
number of quick strokes, as at Melton Mowbray, Shrewsbury, 
Bromsgrove, Pershore, Marlborough St. Peter, Harlow (Essex), 
Market Rasen, Solihull, and Coleshill (Warw.). At the Charter- 
house, London, it is rung at 8 in winter and 9 in summer, the 
number of strokes corresponding to the number of brethren in 
residence. In some Lincolnshire parishes (Market Deeping, 
and Crowle and Epworth in the Isle of Axholme) it is rung 
at 6 P.M., being thus a genuine survival of the Angelus which 
was rung at that hour. At Bottesford in Leicestershire it is 
discontinued in Whitsun week, and at Sheepy Magna in 
the same county at the death of a parishioner. At Grantham 
it is omitted on vigils and eves, and at Horncastle on " red 
letter " days. 

The above were the regular uses on Sundays and week days. 
But there were a great many more uses of bells intermittent in 
occurrence. Apart from the Church festivals and other occasions 
already noted, there were and are loyal peals rung on 5th 
November and 29th May. In some parishes. a peal is still rung 
on 5th November in memory of the deliverance of the King and 
Parliament from the Popish plot. 2 Sometimes the bells are 
clashed or " fired " ; this is sometimes called "shooting the bells " 
or " shooting old Guy." At Owmby in Lincolnshire there is 
a bell inscribed — 


which recalls the familiar rhyme. In this county the practice 
of " firing " the bells is only too common. The counties in 
which this custom is now most frequently kept up are Bedford- 
shire (thirteen examples), Bucks, (twenty-four), Herts, (twelve), 
and Warwickshire, where peals are rung in twenty-three 
instances. Hunts, and Lincoln boast each eight survivals, 
Northants and Salop each five. In Essex the only instance 
is at Manuden. At St. Margaret's, Westminster, there is a 
record of ringing on this day as early as 1605, and Church- 
wardens' Accounts shew that it was pretty general in the 
seventeenth century. 

On 29th May in many parts of the country the boys put 

1 North, Eng. Belts, p. 100. For its use at Worcester see Toulmin 
Smith, English Gilds (Early Eng. Text Soc, No. 40), p. 402. 

2 See North, English Bells, p. 190. 



sprigs of the fresh young oak-leaves in their button-holes and 

sing : — 

" Twenty-ninth of May is Royal Oak" (or "Oak Apple ") " Day." 

The service for the happy restoration of his Sacred Majesty 
Charles II. has disappeared from the Prayer Book, but his 
escape in an oak tree after the battle of Worcester is still 
commemorated by peals in some parishes, as for instance at 
Bishampton, Worcestershire, and Great Missenden, Bucks. 1 At 
Cranfield and Toddington, Beds., they begin at 3 A.M., and in 
1882 in this small county there were no less than ten instances 
of ringing on this day. No other county boasts more than 
five, and in Hunts., Kent, Rutland, Salop, and Surrey the 
custom has quite died out. A curious practice at Finedon, 
Northants., is to ring the bells half-muffled. 

Another royal anniversary, the commemoration of which 
was formerly incorporated in the Prayer Book, is that of the 
death of King Charles the Martyr on 30th January. This was 
formerly celebrated by a muffled peal at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 
and is said to be so still at Bishampton, Worcestershire. The 
celebration of these anniversaries was apparently unpopular in 
183 1 at Witham-on-Hill, Lincolnshire. The treble of that date 
bears the inscription : — 

'Twas not to prosper pride or hate 

William Augustus Johnson gave me 

But peace and joy to celebrate 

And call to prayer to heav'n to save ye 

Then keep the terms and e'er remember 

May 29 th ye must not ring 

Nor yet the 5 th of each November 

Nor on the crowning of a King. 

The last restriction seems unreasonable, if not necessarily disloyal. 

As on religious, so on secular festive occasions, the ringing 
of peals is customary in many places. The days most usually 
thus honoured are the anniversaries of the Sovereign's Birthday, 
Accession, and Coronation, a practice of which we first hear in 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In early Churchwardens' Accounts 
there are regular payments to ringers for these occasions. At 
Bowden Magna in Leicestershire a shilling is still paid to the 
ringers on 17th November, the day of Queen Elizabeth's acces- 
sion (cf. p. 140), by the bequest of Richard Kestin in 1674, in 
perpetual memory of the final establishment of the Reformed 
Religion in England. 

In some parishes the birthdays of local notabilities are 

1 See also North, English Bells, p. 181, 


celebrated by peals : those of the Powis family in Shropshire 
(as at Bromfield), of the Brownlows at Belton, Lines. ; or that 
of the rector, as at Great Ponton, Lines., and (for the late 
rector) at Whitchurch, Shropshire. In Warwickshire, Empire 
Day (24th May) is celebrated at Coleshill and Kenilworth, St. 
George's Day at Middleton, and Shakespeare's Birthday (23rd 
April) at Stratford-on-Avon. At Rugby peals are rung at 6 A.M., 
1 P.M., and 7 P.M. on 20th October in memory of Lawrence 
Sheriff, the founder of the school, and another local benefactor 
thus commemorated is William Adams at Newport, Salop 
(1st September). At Blakesley, Northants, the bells are rung 
on Plough Monday (10th January), and at Market Drayton, Salop, 
on 6th July (Old Midsummer Day). May Day was formerly 
celebrated by ringing in many places, such as Balsham, Cambs., 
and at All Saints', Stamford ; 1 but probably this is now only 
kept up at Magdalen College, Oxford. 

Events of national importance were at one time constantly 
celebrated by peals. At Coventry, Ludlow, and many other 
places, as well as at the London City churches, we read of 
payments for ringing at the visits of royalty or of the Bishop, 
or of such a personage as the Lord of the Marches ; we also 
hear of fines being exacted for not ringing on such occasions. 2 
In old Churchwardens' Accounts there are frequent references 
to ringing "at the coming of the Bishop." 3 Peals were also 
regularly rung to celebrate victories in the wars of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, or on the conclusion of peace, and this 
custom has by no means died out. Trafalgar Day (21st October) 
is still celebrated at Atcham, Shropshire. It was at one time 
only too common to ring peals on the occasion of elections, or 
worse still, victories in horse-races. In 1645 there is an entry in 
the Churchwardens' Accounts of St Edmund's, Salisbury : — 

" Ringing the race-day that the Earl of Pembroke his horse winne the 
cuppe vs." 4 

But happily now such desecration of church bells is a thing of 
the past. 

1 North, English Bells, p. 183. 

2 T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 107. 

3 North, English Bells, p. 79. 

4 T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 104. 

III. Funeral and Miscellaneous Uses 

EXCEPT in the case of royalty we seldom now hear of bells 
being rung to usher mankind into the world ; but they 
are often associated with other events of life, in particular with 
the rejoicings of wedding ceremonies, and more generally with 
the mournful circumstances of death. 

The only instance of ringing known in connection with the 
Sacrament of Holy Baptism is at Searby in Lincolnshire, where 
it is customary to ring a peal after the service. At Fulbeck 
in the same county the fourth bell is tolled previously. At 
confirmations, however, the bells are sometimes rung, as at 
Donington, Lines., and in three Shropshire parishes. 

But there was a great deal of bell-ringing when a man was 
married, and still more when he died. First of all comes what is 
sometimes known as the " Spur Peal," x rung after morning service 
on the occasion of the first publication of banns of marriage. In 
1899 this was still in use in eleven churches in Huntingdonshire, 
and about 1882 in at least fifty-two in Lincolnshire. The custom 
is also known in Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, and Northants, 
but not in Essex, Salop, or Warwickshire. 

Then of course, as now, there were peals at a wedding, which 
were formerly much more general, but now are only rung by 
request, and on payment being made to the ringers. Even 
parishes which only boast a single bell, such as Pickworth in 
Rutland, are wont to make as much noise as they can with such 
limited means at command ; and at Little Raveley, Hunts., 
which possesses but one bell, a rustic joke is current that "all 
the bells are rung for a funeral, but only one for a wedding." 
At Stroxton, Lines., when there was only one bell, a " three- 
bell-peal " was produced by beating it with hammers ! 2 At 

1 See T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings^ p. 124. The term is derived from 
a Danish word " sporge" = " asking," according to North. 

2 North, Lines., p. 235. 


Husborne Crawley, Bedfordshire, the bells are rung voluntarily 
for all, without respect of persons. 

The poetic effusions so often found on eighteenth-century 
bells often allude to their use at weddings. Two couplets 
favoured by Pack and other London founders are : — 





In some places it was also customary to ring the bells early 
on the morning after the wedding, as at Hogsthorpe, Lincoln- 
shire. This was known as the " Bride's Peal." At Fotherby 
in the same count)- the peal was rung at 7 A.M., and was called 
" Ringing them up." This was also done at Steppingley, Bedford- 
shire, under the same name ; and at Grandborough, Warwick- 
shire, a peal is still rung at 5 A.M. Peals are also rung to 
welcome the return of the married couple from the honeymoon, 
as at YVyddial, Herts. 

When a man fell grievously sick, the priest with bell, book, 
and candle proceeded to the sick bed, lest he should die 

" Unhouadl'd, disappointed, unanneal'd." 

The Houseling Bell, which is sometimes mentioned in the 
Edwardian Inventories, was a hand-bell carried in this procession 
and rung when the Eucharist was borne to the sick person, that 
all might be warned of its approach and pay reverence, and might 
pray for the sick or dying person.'-' In an Inventory of 1488 at 
St. Christopher-le-Stock, London, there is mentioned " a cloth of 
gold . . . that serveth to here over the sacrament, with iiij bellis 
longyng thereto." The parish of St. Michael, Cornhill, in 1469 
purchased " a little bell that ryngeth afore the sacrament." :i 
Archbishop Winchelsea in 1305 speaks of a " tintinnabulum ad 
deferendum coram corpore Christi in visitatione infirmorum." 
A Houseling Bell in use in Queen Mary's reign is mentioned in 
1566 at Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire. St. Mary's, Sandwich, 
Kent, in 1483 possessed "a bell of sylver to be boryn with the 

1 Cf also the tenor at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London, which is more 
comprehensive in its record of its functions. 

2 North, Englisli Bells, p. 194 ; Micklethwaite, Ornaments of the Rubric, 
p. 51, note. 

: * Waterlow and Overall, Churchwarden? Accounts of St. MichaePs, 
p. 40. 


sacrament of ix ounces j quarter." 1 An inscription sometimes 
found on bells in Dorset and Somerset : — 



may be regarded as having reference to this period of man's 

Then comes the next stage in the sick man's pilgrimage on 
earth, the tolling of one of the church bells, called the Passing 
Bell, or sometimes the "Soul Bell."- 

" Toll the bell a solemn toll ; 

Slow and solemn let it be ; 

Cry for the departing soul, 

'Miserere Domine.'" 

Durandus 3 says: "When anyone is dying, bells must be 
tolled (pulsari), that the people may put up their prayers, twice 
for a woman and thrice for a man ; if for a clergyman, as many 
times as he had orders {simpulsari) ; and at the conclusion a 
peal on all the bells {compukari) to distinguish the quality of 
the person." Before the Reformation this was, in fact, the 
purpose for which the bell was rung, in order that those who 
heard it might speed and assist the departing soul with their 
prayers. It was consequently rung at all hours of the day or 
night, whenever the critical moment might arrive. In the 
Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary Woolchurch, London, 4 
for 1526 a scale of payments for the ringing of different sized 
bells for so many hours is laid down, and among the entries are: — 

Item the clerke to have for tollynge of the passynge belle for 

manne womanne or childes, if it be in the day - - os. ^d. 

Item if it be in the night, for the same os. 8d. 

On the death of Sir John Rudstone, Lord Mayor of London, 
m ^S 1 . 3 s - \d. was paid "to the Sexton for knellyng of the bell 
at his departynge to God." 

At the Reformation the idea of using the bell for sick persons 
while still alive was not altogether lost sight of. In the Church- 
wardens' Accounts of St. John the Baptist, Peterborough, for 
1572 is the entry : — 

Item to scarlet beynge a poore old man and rysyng oft in the 
nyghte to tolle the bell for sicke persons the wether beyng 
grevous --------- viij s . 

In 1624 D'Ewes mentions tolling under similar circumstances. 

1 Boys. Sandwich, p. 374. 

2 Raven, Bells of England, p. 112. 

3 RaticHiale, i. 4, 13 (Webb and Neale's translation, p. 95). 

4 Harl. MSS., 2,252. 


On the other hand Bishop Hall says : " We call them Soul 
Bells because they signify the departing of the soul, not because 
they help the passage of the soul." With reference to this 
name for the bell we may compare an inscription of Queen 
Mary's reign at Middleton-in-Teesdale, Durham : — 

"tell soul fenell at bis enopno," &c. 

But the use is clearly indicated in the Advertisements of Queen 
Elizabeth issued in 1564: " that where anye Christian bodie is 
in passing, that the bell be tolled, and that the curate be specially 
called for to comforte the sick person." 1 Bishop Hooper, sturdy 
Protestant as he was, says in his Injunctions of 1551 "that from 
henceforth there be no knells or forthfares rung for the death of 
every man, but in case that they be sick or in danger, or any 
of their friends will demand to have the bell toll whiles the sick 
is in extremes, to admonish people of their danger and by that 
means to solicitate the hearers to pray for the sick person they 
may use it." The Royal Injunctions of 1559 are to the same 
effect. Archbishop Grindal in 1570 orders it to be rung "to 
move the people to pray for the sick person " ; and at Boston 
in 158S it was ordered "every person that shall have the great 
bell rung for him in their extremity of sickness to pay \d. to 
the church." 

Shakespeare does not fail to introduce the Passing Bell : — 

" His tongue 
Sounds ever after as a sullen knell 
Remembered knolling a departing friend." 2 

In the seventeenth century, and even in the eighteenth, we 
have occasional references to the older custom. In 1638 Bishop 
Montagu in his Visitation Articles complains of the omission 
of the Passing Bell in many places, and in 1662 the Bishop of 
Worcester in his Visitation Charge asks if it is still observed. 3 
On a monument to a lady in Burnham Church, Essex, dated 
1680, are the words " Campanam dari iussit sonantem, laete 
audivit, et pacifice obiit decimo die Novemb.," obviously referring 
to the Passing Bell having been rung before the lady's actual 
decease. 4 Though in the eighteenth century it had fallen into 
general disuse and its place was taken by the Death Knell (see 
below) we hear of it in 1738 at Melton Mowbray, where in that 

1 Cf. Canon 67 of 1603, quoted above, p. 115 ; and see Ellacombe, Bells 
of the Church, p. 246. 

- 2 King Henry IV., Act i. Sc. 1. Other passages are quoted by North, 
English Bells, p. 119. 

3 Staley, Hierurgia Anglicana (1903), ii. p. 195 ff. 

4 Deedes and Walters, Essex, p. 199. 


year it was first rung after death; 1 " till when the custom had 
been for it to pass before." At Kingscliffe in Northamptonshire 
it was still rung before death at the end of the century. 2 

The following extract from J. T. Smith's life of Nollekens 
the sculptor 3 may perhaps be quoted as bearing on the subject : — 

"Nollekens says to Lord Chancellor Bathurst, 'When I was a boy you 
would have liked to have seen me toll the bell ; ' it's no very easy thing, I 
can tell you. . . . You must toll, that is to say, I did, one hour for a man, 
three times three ; and three times two for a woman : — now, your Lordship 
must mind, there's a Moving-bell and a Passing-bell ; these the Romans 
always attended to.' 'You mean the Roman Catholics, Mr. Nollekens,' 
observed his Lordship. ' Yes, my Lord, they call that the Moving-bell 
which goes when they move a body out of one parish to the next, or so on. 
The Passing-bell is when you are dying, and going from this world to another 
place.' 'Ay, Mr. Nollekens,' observed his Lordship, 'there is a curious 
little book, published in 1671, I think by Richard Duckworth, upon the art 
of Ringing, entitled Tintinnalogia.'" 

An inscription at West Keal, Lincolnshire, of the year 
1722, distinctly refers to the Passing Bell : — 



It might be in use still — for it is a very Protestant use — were it 
not that there was sometimes the inconvenience that, though his 
Passing Bell had been duly rung, the dying person might recover. 
When death did come, then the " Death Knell " was rung. 
This bell had been in use doubtless from the earliest times. 
Bede mentions its knell when Hilda died at Whitby : 5 "In all 
convents, when an inmate died, the death-knell was rung ; and 
though it were the depth of night, no sooner was the knell heard 
than all the inmates in that house arose and knelt down by their 
bedsides or hurried to the church, and prayed for the brother or 
sister that moment gone." It is curious that while the Passing 
Bell is rung no more, the Death Knell, which was forbidden 
by Bishop Hooper as encouraging prayers for the dead, has 
remained in use. The procedure of ringing varies very much in 
different parishes. Most commonly 3x3 strokes are given at 
the death of a man, 3x2 for a woman, and 3 x 1 for a child. It 
is said that the three strokes for a man have reference to the 
Holy Trinity, the two for a woman to Our Saviour born of 

1 North, English Bells, p. 121. 

2 North, op. a'/., p. 122 ; cf. also Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, 
p. 466. 

3 jYollehc/is and his Times, i. p. 54 (ed. Gosse). 

4 He was fond of tolling the bell of St. James's, Piccadilly {ibid., p. 31). 
Hist. Eccl., iv. 23 ; see above, p. 13. 


woman. These strokes are called " tellers," in Dorset " tailors " ; 
hence the saying " nine tailors make a man." " Tailor" is really 
the original form, referring to their being rung at the "tail" or 
end of the knell. But the inscription "tell soul knell" quoted 
above (p. 155) and the general use of the word "tell" seem to 
imply that the form may be original. There was never any 
uniformity about the method of the tolling which usually formed 
the main part of the knell, the tellers coming at the beginning 
or end, or both. At Coventry in 1496 : it was ordered that after 
a decease a charge of ijs. should be made for all the bells being 
tolled, xvjd. for four bells, and xijd. for three bells. The number 
used depended chiefly on the means of the person ordering it ; 
but usually a minimum charge of 4d. for one bell was made, as 
at St. Mary Woolchurch (p. 154). At St. Andrew Hubbard, 
London, however, one of the bells was known as the " Alms 
Bell," because it was rung gratis for poor people (see p. 47). 

Pepys in his Diary, 30th July 1665, refers to the ringing of 
the Death Knell during the Plague : " It was a sad noise to hear 
our bell [St. Olave's, Hart Street] to tell and ring so often to-day 
either for death or burials ; I think five or six times." 

Originally rung at ihe exact moment of death, the Death 
Knell has now lost something of its significance by being rung 
at a later hour or in fact wholly to suit the convenience of the 
sexton. The uses still vary greatly in different parishes ; some- 
times, as in four Hertfordshire parishes, it is rung immediately 
when possible, or at least as soon as notice can be given, some- 
times not till the following day, or after twelve, or at least two 
or three hours have elapsed. It may be laid down as a general 
rule that it is not rung after nightfall or before daybreak, and 
this often necessarily entails a delay of some twelve hours. 

Even more numerous are the variations in the method of 
ringing. At Marbury in Cheshire the bells used to be rung 
to the tune of the old fourth Psalm. 2 Usually the tenor bell is 
tolled as a "minute" bell, i.e., sixty strokes at intervals of as 
many seconds for an hour, the " tellers " being given at the 
beginning and end, or only at the end. At Northampton St. 
Sepulchre, Wollaston, Northants, and Humberstone, Leics., the 
tenor is first tolled, then rung. At Cogenhoe and Rothwell in 
the former county the tenor and treble are used. At Ampthill, 
Beds., each bell is tolled for half an hour, the tellers being given 
on the tenor. At Coventry St. John and Holy Trinity the 
bells are tolled singly in succession and then in pairs ; while 
at St. Michael's the custom is: three strokes on tenor, sixty 

1 Tilley and Walters, Ch. Bells of Warw., p. 149. 
- Gentleman's Mag., X.S., xvii. (18641 p. 72. 


on 1st and 2nd alternately, then twelve on tenor, followed by 
the tellers. 

Then there are the various methods of denoting age and 
sex. Frequently the tenor is tolled more or less rapidly for a 
number of strokes corresponding to the age of the deceased ; 
of this custom there are sixteen instances in Essex, six in Hunts., 
four in Herts., and three in Salop. A curious variation of this 
is at Graffham, Hunts., where the day of the month is tolled 
instead ! Or again, different bells are used to denote age or 
sex, the tenor for an adult and treble for a child, and so on, 
as at Walkern, Herts. This practice is very common in Essex. 
Or the bell is tolled one hour for an adult, and half an hour for 
a child, as at St. Martin's, Salop, Helmdon and Sulgrave, 
Northants ; or thirty and fifteen minutes respectively, as at 
Broughton, Lines. 

The variations in the tellers are even more numerous, and 
it is impossible to specify all the different ways in which they 
are rung. As already noted, the normal method is 3 for a 
man and 2 for a woman, either singly, or 3x3 and 3x2; 
frequently also one stroke singly or thrice is given for a child. 
The 3 X 3- and 3x2 methods are generally used in the counties 
of Bucks., Hereford, Gloucester, Lincoln, and Rutland, and in 
the cities of London and Worcester ; but in the Teme valley 
(North-West Worcestershire) 3x1 for a child is also customary. 1 
We append in tabular form a few of the more interesting 
variations : — 

(M = man, F = woman, C = child, B = boy, G = girl.) 

3x3 M, 4 + 3 F - - - • Tydd St. Alary, Lincolnshire {cf. West 

Ham, Essex). 
3 x 3 M, F, 3 x 2 C - - - Burham, Kent. 
3 x 3 M, 3 x 2 F, 2 x 3 B, 2 x 2 G - Denton, Kent. 
3 + 3 + 3 M, 3 + 2 + 3 F - - London, St. Anne and Agnes. 

3 M, 4 F, 3 x 3 C - - - Frinstead, Kent. 

4x3 M, 3x3 F - - - - Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks.; Mumby, 

4x3 M, 3x3 F, 2x3 B, 1x3d- Kimbolton, Hunts. ; Kirk Smeaton, 

3 + 4 + 5 M, 4 + 5 F - - - Worfield, Salop. 
5 M, 4 F, 3 C - - - - Frees, Salop. 
5 M, 7 F, 9 C - Ecclesfield, Yorks. 

5x4 M, 4x4 F, 3X4C - - Caenby, Lines. 
3 M, 5 F 2 - - - - - Farcet, Hunts. 
3 x 6 M, 2 x 6 F, 1 x 6 C - Hampton, Warwick. 

6x6 M, 6x5 F, 6X4C Bickenhill, Warwick. 

1 North, English Bells, p. 124. 

2 The current explanation of this is that there are three letters in man 
and five in WOMAN. 


6 M, 5 F, 4 B, 3 G - - - Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lines. 

7 M, 5 F, 3 C - - - - Felkirk, Yorks. 
9 M, 8 F - - - - - Sturmer, Essex. 

8 M, 9 F, io C - - - - Spofforth, Yorks. 
3x10 M, 2x15 F - - - Wye, Kent. 

9 M, 7 F, 5 C - - - - Royston and Treeton, Yorks. (on 5th bell). 
13 M, 11 F - - - - - Westbury, Salop. 

9 + 3x3 M, 6 + 3 x 2 F - - Laughton en-le-Morthen, Yorks. 

12 M, 8 F, 6 C - - - - Rroughton, Lines. 

12 M, 9 F, 3 C - - - Algarkirk, etc., Lines. 

12x3 M, 12x2 F C - - - Bedworth, Warwick. 

12 M, 10 F, 6 B, 5 G - - - Whittington, Salop. 

In the following instances more than one bell is used : — 

3 M, 2 F on each bell - - - Lutterworth, Leics. ; Irthlingborough, 

Northants ; six in Warwickshire ; 
Chirbury, Salop (with three or two 
strokes at end). 
3x3 on three bells M, 2x2 on 

two F Kegworth, Leics. 

3 M, 3 F on each bell - - Cardington and Tilbrook, Beds. 

(At the former place only the six older 
bells are used, the order for a 
woman being reversed.) 
3 M, 2 F, 1 C on each - • Ickford, Bucks. 

3x6 on each+15 M, 2x6 on 

each+11 F - - - Allesley, Warwick. 

9 M on 3rd, 7 F on 2nd, 5 C on 1st Althorpe, Lines. 
12x3 M, 11x3 F, on each of 

three old bells - Ruyton, Salop. 

13 M, 14 F 1 on each - - - Pontesbury, Salop; Almeley, Hereford. 

10 M, 9 F, 6 B, 5 G on each - Birkin, Yorks. 

Also worth noting, but too elaborate to give here, are the 
uses at Epworth and Owston, Lines. ; Hemel Hempstead, 
Herts. ; Gisburne and Kippax, Yorkshire. 

At Marsham, Norfolk, there is a set of ringing rules hanging 
in the belfry which includes the following precise directions : — 

Knocks for the Dead. 

iii for Girl vi for Spinster viii for Bachelor 

iv for Boy vii for Matron ix for Husband 

and at Leverton, Lincolnshire, there is an entry in the Constables' 
Accounts for 1692 : — - 

" In ringing the passing-bell it has been time out of mind customary for 
a man that dies to toll 12 tolls. For a woman 9 tolls. They are accounted 
man or woman at the age of 16 or 18 years. For younger persons, a male 
7 tolls ; a female 9 tolls." 

1 The reason alleged for this variation is that a woman has one more rib 
than a man ! 



In Shropshire it is customary to postpone the death knell 
and tellers to the evening preceding the funeral, as at Gun 
and Whitchurch, or even to the day of the funeral, as at 
Claverley, Cleobury Mortimer, Pontesbury, Westbury, and 
Worfield. The latter custom also obtains at Warwick St. 
Nicholas ; Staplehurst, Kent ; Ruislip, Middlesex ; and Moulton, 
Northants. At the last-named place a "Winding Bell " used to 
be rung at midday on the day before the funeral, as also at 
Kingscliffe, Northants. It was meant as a warning to get 
everything ready in good time for the ceremony. An allusion 
to this appears on one of the bells at Hedon, Yorks. : — 


Then came the funeral, when the " Corpse " or " Lych Bell " l 

was rung as the pro- 
cession proceeded to 
the church. This is a 
very ancient use. In 
the Bayeux tapestry, 
at the funeral of Ed- 
ward the Confessor, 
two acolytes are seen 
walking by the side 
of the hearse, carry- 
ing hand-bells, one in 
each hand ( 1 6o). 2 The 
" lych bell " was rung 
at Oxford in 1645 at 
the funeral of Dr. 
Radcliff, but was ap- 
parently put a stop 
to after that occasion. 3 There is also an allusion to the use of 
a hand-bell at funerals at Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd in St. Asaph 
Diocese so late as 1735. 4 "Lych" or "corpse" bells are some- 
times mentioned in the Edwardian Inventories, as at Hallow, 
Worcestershire : " a bell to ring beffore the corps when it cometh 
to churche . . . and a lytell lyche bell that went before the 
corps." There was also one at Lindridge in the same county. 

1 Micklethwaite, Ornaments of the Rubric, p. 50 ; North, English Bells, 

P- 193- 

2 Raven, Bells of England, p. 40. 

'■'■ See Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 467. But Dearmer in the 
ParsorCs Handbook (1902), p. 159, states that it is still rung at University 

4 Arch. Cambrensis, 4th Ser., ii. p. 273 ; Staley, Hiernrgia Anglicana, 
ii. p. 206. 

Acolytes with hand-bells at funeral 
From the Bayeux Tapestry 


North 1 quotes several examples from the Berkshire Inventories, 
one at Stanford Dingley being described as "a bell used to be 
tynged before dede corses." This, like many other customs, was 
put a stop to by Archbishop Grindal in 1571. 

At the same time the Funeral Knell was tolled on one or 
more of the church bells. In mediaeval times bell-ringing at 
funerals was carried to excess, and in 1339 we find Bishop 
Grandison endeavouring to stop long ringings on the ground 
that " they do no good to the departed, are an annoyance to the 
living, and injurious to the fabric of the bells."- At Coventry 
in 1 5 16 at the funeral of Lady Isabel Berkeley "there was 
ryngyng daily with all the bells contynually ; that is to say, 
at St. Michael's xxxiij peles, at Trinitie xxxiij peles, at St. 
John's xxxiij, at Babyllake, because hit was so nigh, lvij peles, 
and in the Mother Church . . . xxx peles, and every pele, 
xij d ." 3 Frequent references to burial peals may be found in 
the earlier Churchwardens' Accounts, as at Peterborough St. 
John Baptist in 1534, among the "receipts for the bells" is 
the item : — 

Payd for Ryngers when my Lady Katern was beryed ij s vj d 4 

and so at St. Martin, Leicester, in 1 546,"' and at Peterborough 
in 1476 : 6 — 

It'm payd the ryngers to the worsthypp of God and for the Duke of Yorke 
sowle and bonys comyng to Fodrynghey iiij d . 

In early days the funeral peals might go on for a whole 
Trental, i.e., thirty days; 7 a period perhaps determined by the 
fact that the mourning for Moses and Aaron lasted thirty days. s 
John Baret, who died at Bury St. Edmunds in 1463, in his will 
says : " In such day as God disposith for me to passe I wil the 
chymes smyth {smite) Requiem aeternam, and so day and nyth 
to contynwe with the same song tyl my xxx day be past." 9 
The neighbours must have been heartily sorry for John Baret's 
death before his Trental was over, especially as the tune was 
limited to five notes. 30 

1 Op. tit., p. 193. 

- Ellacombe, Church Belts of Devon, p. 75. 

3 Smyth's Lives of l 'he Berkeleys, ed. Maclean, ii. p. 175. 

4 North, Northants, p. 373. This was Katharine of Arragon. 

5 North, English Bells, p. 132. 

6 Ibid., p. 131. 

7 Raven, Bells of England, p. 135. 

8 Numb. xx. 29 ; Deut. xxxiv. 8. 

'•' Tymms, Wills and Inventories, p. 28. 
"' See Raven, Suffolk, p. 86. 


It was formerly a common practice not to toll a single bell 
at a funeral but to chime all the bells, just as the funeral pro- 
cession was approaching. 1 At South Kelsey in Lincolnshire 
Anne Johnson, who died in 1848 at the age of ninety-six, 
requested that she might "be chimed to church as old people 
were when she was a girl." With reference to this, the following 
lines were composed : — 

" Chime me to church and let no doleful knell 
Be tolled from that old steeple grey ; 
The melody of pealing bells shall swell 
Around me on my funeral day." 

The custom is still fairly frequently observed, especially in 
Shropshire, where it is sometimes known as " ringing the joy- 
bells"; about twenty-five parishes still keep up the use. It is 
also known in Bedfordshire (three instances), Hunts, (two), 
Leicester, Lincoln (two, and at Epworth for church officials), 
Northants, and Warwick. At Over Whitacre, Warwick, the 
bells are chimed after the ceremony ; at Benefield and King's 
Sutton, Northants, both before and after. At Eye, Northants, 
the bells are rung for an adult and chimed for a child. 

Nowadays the ordinary use is to toll a single bell either at 
an earlier hour on the morning of the funeral, or for an hour or 
so before the ceremony, sometimes with a few quick strokes as 
the procession reaches the churchyard. At St. Neot's, Hunts., 
twenty strokes are given on each bell, the order being reversed 
for a woman. At Marsh Gibbon, Bucks., fifty strokes are tolled 
at 9 A.M. ; at Staplehurst, Kent, the bell is tolled at 7 A.M. ; and 
in seven Warwickshire parishes there is tolling at 7, 8, or 9. At 
Braunston, Rutland, there are three tollings at intervals of an 
hour ; at Atherstone on Stour, Warwick, tolling every two hours 
from 8 to 2. Sometimes a " Bearers' Bell " or " Invitation Bell " 
is rung as a warning for the procession to get ready to start ; of 
this there are twenty-one instances in Lincolnshire and five in 
Bucks. ; others in Herts., Hunts., Northants, and Warwickshire. 

A bell is also frequently rung after the ceremony ; at Flit- 
wick, Beds., five strokes are given on the tenor. Of the use of 
the " tellers " at funerals we have already spoken. The age 
of the deceased is tolled at South Luffenham, Rutland, and 
Exhall near Coventry ; and at Burley, Rutland, sex is indicated 
by tolling different bells. At Hempstead, Gloucestershire, the 
age is indicated, twenty strokes at a time, after the funeral. 2 

Bells are also tolled on the occasion of the death or funeral 
of important personages. At St. Paul's Cathedral the great 

1 See North, English Bells, p. 134. 2 Ibid. 


hour-bell in the south-west tower is tolled for the death and 
funeral of members of the royal family, the Bishop or Dean 
of London, and the Lord Mayor if he dies during his mayoralty. 
At Westminster Abbey the great bell is only used to toll for 
the death of the Dean or any member of the royal family. 
At Shrewsbury the town bell is tolled for the death of the 
mayor or royalty. 

Bell-inscriptions not infrequently have reference to their use 
at funerals. The Rudhalls of Gloucester almost invariably 
place on the tenor bells of their larger rings the words : — 


and at Cloford, Somerset, we have : — 


Then there was the Obit Bell in former times for those who 
could afford it. 1 Its purpose is clearly seen at Boston, where at 
the obit or " mind-day " of Richard Benynton and Joan his wife 
a bellman exhorted the people to pray for all Christian souls, 
and to say an Ave and a Paternoster for charity's sake. At 
Bury St. Edmunds John Baret's neighbours had not finished 
with him when his Trental was over ; for he made arrangements 
for a grand musical celebration every year of the anniversary 
of his death. First, the bellmen were to have " iiij cl to go 
yeerly abowte the town at my yeer-day for my soule and for my 
faderis and modrys." Secondly, that " each year that his year- 
day falleth, at twelve of the clock of the noon next, the sexton 
do the chimes smite Requiem eternam" and so to continue seven 
nights after the octave of his year-day was passed. One gain, 
at any rate, from the Reformation is that it has put a stop to 
John Baret's requiem eternam ! Other obits or " mind-day " 
peals of which we have record are at Leicester for the Earl of 
Huntingdon, and at Peterborough in 1477 "for the yere time 
of Abbot Genge." The Priory of Usk was charged to pray for 
Dr. Adam "and rynging of his mynd every yere vj d . 2 In 1501 
Sir Adam Outlaw of West Lynn, Norfolk, bequeathed three 
acres to the parish clerk to ring a peal on the vigil of his year- 
day. 3 At St. Paul's, Stamford, about 1494, three peals were 
ordered to be rung on the day of the general feast for the souls 

1 Numerous instances of this use are collected by Rock, Church of Our 
Fathers (1904 ed.), iii. p. 80. 

2 Valor Eccles.y iv. p. 366. 

3 Blomfield, Hist, of Norfolk, viii. p. 536. 


of the brethren and sisters deceased of the gild of St. Katherine ; 
there was also to be special ringing within thirty days of the 
decease of any member. The clerk was to be paid 2d., and 
bread, cheese, and ale given to the ringers. 1 All these were of 
course abolished at the Reformation, but, as will be seen below, 
commemorative peals of a similar type survived in a more 
secular guise. 

Muffled peals are frequently rung in all parts of the country 
to commemorate the death of royalty or other great personages, 
or for local notabilities, or for ringers. At Colchester St. Peter 
on the day of Lord Beaconsfield's funeral in 1881 the tenor was 
tolled muffled from 3 to 3.30, followed by a muffled peal till 5, 
and then a half-muffled peal till 6, after which the Earl's age 
was tolled on the muffled tenor. 

At Horningsham, Wilts., a muffled peal used to be rung at 
the funeral of an unmarried girl, and it was known as her 
"wedding peal." 2 Commemorative muffled peals are rung at 
Hoi beach in Lincolnshire on the first Sunday after Christmas 
and New Year's Eve in memory of local personages, and at 
Holy Trinity, Coventry, on 24th January for one T. Smith. 
At St. Peter's, Dorchester, the bells are muffled and chimed 
backwards on the death of a ringer. 

Commemorative peals of an ordinary kind are also rung in 
some places, by bequest or otherwise. At Cardington, Beds., 
a peal is rung on 21st June by bequest of Oliver Peach in 17 15 ; 
at Peterborough by bequest of Matthew Wyldbore in 1781 ; 3 
at Harlaxton, Lincolnshire, on 11th January in memory of 
Nicholas Harley, a ringer, who died in 1826. At Saffron 
Walden, Essex, a memorial sermon is preached to the ringers on 
27th June by bequest of Thomas Turner, who died in 1623 ; 
but it is not stated whether a peal is rung. At Wentnor in 
Shropshire a " Dead Man's Peal " is rung on the night of Church 
Stretton Fair (the last Thursday in November), in memory of 
a Wentnor man who perished in crossing the Long Mynd on a 
wintry night. The peal was supposed to guide subsequent 
travellers in a like case The Ancient Society of Ringers at 
St. Stephen's, Bristol, is bound to ring nine peals a year in 
memory of deceased benefactors.' 1 

1 Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, p. 190. 

2 Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 467. 
:! North, English Bells, p. 139. 

4 Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Clones., p. 21 1. 


Miscellaneous Uses. 

Another use of church bells is for parochial meetings and 
functions of various kinds. This was formerly known as a 
" Mote Bell," and was ordered by Edward the Confessor in times 
of danger. The bells in the clochard of Old St. Paul's were 
used to summon the people to folk-motes in the churchyard. 1 
In later days it was rung at Stafford "for all things pertening 
to the towne." 2 At Worcester the bell of St. Andrew's Church 
was rung to assemble the members of the Council/ 5 Its modern 
successor is the bell rung for Vestry meetings in Easter week, 
a custom found in most parishes. 4 At Horncastle, Lines., the 
2nd bell is rung on Easter Monday and Tuesday for the 
parishioners to pay their Easter dues. Moulton in Northants 
had a special "mote bell" in 1552, as the Inventory of Church 
Goods shews. 5 At Oakham the 7th bell is rung to call town 
meetings, and is known as the " Meeting Bell." Some towns 
had their own bell, usually hanging in the Guildhall or Market 
Hall ; of this a good example is the Town Hall bell at 
Colchester, dating about 1400; and another is at the Guild- 
hall, Lincoln, cast in the year 1 37 1, with the name of the mayor 
inscribed on it. 

At Newcastle-on-Tyne there was a Common Bell, of which 
we first hear in 1593, when it was cast or recast. In 1 594 
the churchwardens of St. Nicholas received 5s. for " Knellinge 
on Guild Day," i.e., tolling this bell on the election of the 
mayor from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M., when the election took place ; 
the various gilds were summoned to record their votes by its 
sound. A popular idea arose that it was rung as the mayor's 
passing bell! It was formerly placed apart from the ring 
in St. Nicholas' tower, but in 1754 it was recast and made the 
tenor of the ring. In its place a large bell of 7 ft. diameter 
was given in 1831, which rang from 8 to 9 A.M. to summon 
the gilds of freedmen at Christmas, Easter, and Michaelmas, 
and is now the hour-bell. It was also rung on fair- days, and 
as Curfew and Pancake Bell. Both of these were recast in 
1891. 6 

At St. Mary, Stamford, the 7th bell is known as the 

1 Godwin and Le Keux, London Churches, p. 10. 

2 North, English Bells, p. 162. 

:! Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, p. 401. 

4 See generally Johnson, Byways in British Archaeology, p. 141. 
"' Madge, Moulton Church audits Bells, p. 28. 

G Arch. Aeliana, N.S. ii. p. 18 ; Broc. Soc. Ant. Neivc, vii. p. 117; North, 
English Bells, p. 164 ; Johnson, Byways in Brit. Arch., p. 138. 


Common Bell of the municipality ; it bears the interesting 
inscription : — 

" I wear myself out in the service of the people of Stamford." 

Up to 1840 this bell had been rung from time immemorial 
on the 13th of November at 10.45 A.M., to give warning to clear 
the thoroughfares of infirm people and children. At 1 1 a bull 
was turned into the street, and the crowd proceeded to " bridge 
the bull," by pitching him over the bridge into the Welland. 1 

On certain days bells were rung in connection with manorial 
courts, and days when various parochial rights were attested. 
At Wellingborough and Duddington, Northants, and at Bis- 
brooke, Rutland, this was done when the manorial courts were 
held. At Warwick St. Nicholas a bell was rung for the meeting 
of the Chamberlains of St. Nicholas' meadow ; at Hinxworth, 
Herts., formerly on Whitsun Eve for the " Cow Common Rights." 
In Lincolnshire a bell is rung in November at Claypole, and on 
the last Monday in October at Epworth, for the meeting of the 
Dykes and Drains Jury. 2 

Market Bells were rung in many towns, and some, such as 
Shrewsbury, had their own bell for this purpose, and have still 
at the present day. Watford in Herts, had one in 1552, as 
mentioned in the Inventory of Church Goods. At Sandwich St. 
Peter in Kent the market bell was known as the '' Brandgoose 
Bell." At Oundle, Northants, it is rung at noon. At Ludlow 
there is an old bell at the Butter Cross, used for a like purpose, 
and at Sleaford an old bell in the tower is called the " Butter 
Bell." 3 Bells were also rung on fair-days, as at Epworth, 
Lines., and Market Drayton, Salop. At Scotton, Lines., a bell 
was rung on Tuesday evenings in November and December to 
guide people home from Gainsborough Market. 

In provincial boroughs it is still customary to ring at the 
election of a new mayor on 9th November, as at Bedford, 
Boston, Grantham, Saffron Walden, and several towns in Salop 
and Warwickshire. At Warwick St. Nicholas the bells are rung 
when the judges come to the assizes. It may also not be out 
of place here to allude to the custom of tolling a church bell at 
an execution, as was formerly done at Bedford, Chester, and 
Worcester. 4 At St. Sepulchre's, Holborn, in 1605 Robert Dowe 

1 Chambers, Book of Days, ii. p. 575 ; North, op. oil., p. 165. 

2 See also Johnson, op. cif., p. 141, for a similar custom at Puxton, 

3 North, Lines., pp. 250, 650. 

4 North, English Bells, p. 178. 


"gave for ringing the greatest bell in this church on the day the 
condemned prisoners were executed . . . for which services the 
sexton is paid £1. 6s. 8d." * The clerk or bellman of St. 
Sepulchre's went under Newgate on the night before an 
execution, and ringing his bell repeated a warning in a verse of 
eight lines, ending : — ■ 

" And when St. Sepulchre's bell to-morrow tolls, 
The Lord alone have mercy on your souls." 

Another writer, however, says that the bell thus rung was 
not one of the ring of ten bells there.' Possibly it was the bell 
removed from Newgate Prison when it was pulled down, now at 
Madame Tussaud's ; it is dated 1780. 

In many parishes a " Gleaning Bell " used to be rung during 
harvest either in the morning only, or both morning and evening. 
The usual hours were 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. ; but it was sometimes 
rung at 6 or 7 A.M., or at 5 or 7 r.M. Its object was to serve as 
a signal for the time when gleaning might begin, and when it 
must terminate ; this was to give all — weak and old or young 
and active — a fair start and an equal chance. Under modern 
agricultural conditions gleaning has in many parts of England 
become a thing of the past, and it is now only in the corn- 
growing counties of the south and east of England that a Glean- 
ing Bell is ever heard. In the Midland counties, where pasture- 
land is now everywhere replacing corn-land, as for instance in 
Shropshire and Warwickshire, the custom has quite disappeared. 
On the other hand there were in 1905 seventeen instances of its 
use in Essex (and a much larger number some twenty or thirty 
years ago), fifteen in Beds, and Herts., and ten each in Lincoln 
and Hunts. In Northants a "Seed-Sowing" bell was formerly 
rung at daybreak at Rushden, and a Harvest Bell at Moulton 
and Walgrave at 4 A.M. At Whittering in the same county 
the Gleaning Bell was rung by a man with a hand-bell. At 
Barrow-on-Humber, Lincolnshire, a Harvest Bell was rung at 
daybreak and in the evening. In 171 3 the parish clerk was 
instructed to ring it every day from the beginning of harvest 
to All Saints' Day, for which he received two pecks of wheat 
at Easter. 3 

In feudal days tenants had both to grind their corn in the 
manorial mill and to bake their bread in the manorial oven. 
In some parishes an "Oven Bell" used to be rung, to give 
warning that the manorial oven was heated and read}- for use. 

1 See Trans. St. Pants Rcclcs. Soc, vi. (1907), p. 123. 

2 Hatton^AV?.' View of London^ 1708, ii. p. 547. 
;; North, English Bells, p. 175. 


In later days it survived, but with a different signification. 
When gleaning was over, an Oven Bell used to be rung at 
Keystone, Huntingdonshire, to let the housewives know that 
the parish oven was ready to bake the loaves made from the 
wheat the}- had gleaned. At Melton Mowbray notice was 
given by a man going through the streets and blowing a horn. 

Sometimes a special bell is set apart as a " Fire Bell." 1 At 
Sherborne in Dorset is a bell of 1653 with a charmingly apposite 
inscription : — 



The old tenor at St. Michael's, Coventry, bore the inscription : — 


At St. Mary, Warwick, there is a small disused bell dated 1670, 
which is called the Fire Bell, and there is also one at Sleaford, 
Lincolnshire. But usually the ordinary bells served for the 
purpose of giving an alarm. The traditional way was to ring 
them backwards, as at St. Mary, Shrewsbury, and Barrow-on- 
Soar, Leicestershire ; at Swaton in Lincolnshire they are 
"jangled." But in most cases one or two of the bells are used, 
as at Saffron Walden and Thaxted, Essex, and in eleven 
Lincolnshire parishes. At the Guild Chapel, Stratford-on-Avon, 
the great and the small bell are rung. At St. John the Baptist, 
Peterborough, the priest's bell is only used for this purpose ; it 
is also used at Lincoln (St. Peter at Arches), Horncastle, and 
elsewhere. At St. Albans and at Hoddesdon, Herts., the town 
clock bell is used. 

There are a few more " uses " of church bells which hardly 
seem to come under any of the above headings. One is their 
use at the induction of a new incumbent of a parish, when he is 
supposed to take possession of his benefice by tolling one of the 
bells. There is an old superstition that the number of strokes 
tolled will correspond to the number of years he will remain in 

Another use is confined to our two University towns, where 
the bell of the University Church (the 11th bell at Great St. 
Mary's, Cambridge) is tolled to summon the Masters of Arts to 
meetings of the Senate, known at Oxford as Convocations, at 
Cambridge as Congregations. 

Sometimes church bells were used for the benefit of the local 

1 North, English Bells, p. 185, gives along list, mostly from Lincolnshire. 


grammar school as at Horncastle, Lincolnshire, where the 3rd 
bell was rung daily at 8.45 A.M. to summon the scholars. At 
Fishtoft in that county the 2nd bell is inscribed : — 


suggesting its use for a similar purpose. At Montford, Salop, 
early in the last century, one of the church bells was rung daily 
for the school, the privilege of ringing being accorded to the 
boys as the reward of good behaviour. But many schools, such 
as Wain fleet in Lincolnshire, and of course the great educational 
establishments like Eton, Winchester, and Charterhouse, had 
their own bells. In some parishes a bell is now rung to give 
notice of Sunday school. 

At Waddington, Northants, an "Apprentice Bell" used to 
be rung when an apprentice was out of his time. At Fleet and 
Welton, Lincolnshire, a bell is rung to call the ringers together 
for practice or peals, and is known as the " Call Bell." 

Hand-bells were used on various occasions in mediaeval times, 
and not a few parishes possessed one or more, as we may learn 
from the Inventories of Church Goods of Edward VI.'s reign. 
Sometimes their use is specified, as " houseling " or " lych " bells, 
but more often they are merely described as hand -bells. Their 
use can be traced back as far as the reign of Edward the Con- 
fessor, for in the representation of his burial in the Bayeux 
tapestry a boy appears on each side of the bier earning a bell. 1 
In an Inventory of the furniture of Pelham Furneaux Church, 
Herts., taken in 1297, occur "two hand-bells" and "two small 
hand-bells." 2 Their weight was usually from three to six or 
seven pounds ; in the Hertfordshire Inventories we read that 
Sandridge possessed a hand-bell weighing iij//., Elstree " ij hand- 
bells weighing xj 1 '-," and Great Berkhampstead two weighing 
twelve pounds/ 5 

These small bells were used in a variety of ways in mediaeval 
times, and to some of these uses, such as " houseling bells " and 
" lych bells," we have already made some allusion (pp. 153, 160). 
In addition, they were also used in Rogation processions, when 
the people perambulated the boundaries of the parish, singing 
Litanies to invoke God's blessing on the crops. 4 Reference is 
made to such bells in the inventories of Addington and Warling- 
ham, Surrey, which in 1552 possessed respectively one and two 

1 See above, p. 160. 

2 North, English Hells, p. 192. 

3 Cussans, Church Goods of Herts., pp. 27, 34, 44. 

4 Cf Blunt, Annotated Book of Common /'raver, p. 297. 


"procession bells." Archbishop Grindal in 1571, while allowing 
the processions to continue merely as perambulations of the 
parish boundaries, forbade the carrying of hand-bells on such 

It was also customary in many parishes, especially in the 
larger towns, to have a bellman attached to the church, who 
would go about on the " year-day " of a person's death, to 
remind the people to pray for his soul. This was done at Great 
Yarmouth, where they were known as " bedesmen " ; and at 
Wymering, Hants, and Freshwater, Isle of Wight, the Inventories 
actually mention " bedesmen's belles." At Leicester a hand-bell 
was rung at the obit of the Earl of Huntingdon (p. 163), and at 
Bury St. Edmunds for John Baret, already mentioned [ibid.). 
The bellman of Loughborough carried one every Friday to bid 
all men to pray for all Christian souls. 1 In the Churchwardens' 
Accounts of St. John the Baptist, Peterborough, for 1477 is the 
item : — 

payd for the yere tyme of Abbot Genge - - - xiij 
and to the bellman ij d . 

The town gilds also had their hand-bells and bellmen. One 
such is still in the possession of the corporation of Rye, Sussex. 
It is a Flemish bell, by Peter van den Ghein, dated 1565, and 
richly ornamented. At the obit of William Reede, merchant of 
Boston, the bellman was to receive fourpence for going round 
and proclaiming " Ye shall pray for the souls of William Reede 
of Boston and Alice, Margaret, and Anne that were his wives 
and sisters in Corpus Christi Guild." Archbishop Grindal for- 
bade'such use of hand-bells, as also at funerals, but such customs 
did not die out altogether, and there are parishes in Wales such 
as Llangwynodl, Carnarvonshire (see p. 7), where until lately 
the sexton rang a hand-bell not only at funerals but before 
services, and even to keep people awake in church ! 2 

We have already seen that in mediaeval times bells were rung 
regularly throughout the day to denote the Canonical Hours, 
and in the old days before clocks were known, this must have 
been (with the morning and evening Ave Bells) the only way 
of marking the time within the reach of the ordinary man. Nor 
is it yet quite extinct in villages where there is no church clock ; 
at Pleshey in Essex the custom of ringing the 8 A.M. bell on 
Sundays is now only kept up in order that the people may be 
able to set their own clocks and watches by it once a week ! 

1 North, English Bells, p. 193. 

2 Ibid., p. 197. 




But for marking time now clocks are fairly general ; and the 
fact that these clocks usually strike on a bell or bells is a justi- 
fication for introducing the subject here. The connection of the 
word with that for bell {clocca, clog, cloche, and glocke) has already 
been noted (p. i). Clocks striking on bells were known in 
Italy as early as the end of the thirteenth century, and the great 
clock of Strassburg Cathedral, which has a number of small bells 
struck by figures, was first constructed in 1352. Similar figures 
striking the hour on bells were not unfamiliar in England, and 
were usually known as " Jack-of-the-Clocks." There are two 
familiar allusions to them in Shakespeare : Richard II. says: — 

" My time runs posting on in Bolingbroke's proud joy, 
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o' the Clock ;" ] 

and Richard III. (Act iv. Sc. 2) : — 

" Like a Jack thou keep'st the stroke 
Betwixt thy begging and my meditation." 

There were formerly two figures of giants who struck the hours 
at St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, London,' 2 but about 1830 these were 
removed by Lord Hertford to his villa in Regent's Park, where 
they are now in the possession of Lord Aldenham, and still in 
use. The figures of "Jacks" still remain at Norwich Cathedral, 
at Wimborne Minster, and at Southwold and Blythburgh in 
Suffolk (171), but are no longer used; on the other hand, one 
put up in 1624 is still in use at Carfax, Oxford. 3 

Many churches still possess special bells for the clock to strike 
on, though usually the tenor is used for the hour, and others 
for the quarters. They are mostly to be found in London and 
the Eastern counties, and some dozen or more are of mediaeval 
date, but may have been originally sanctus bells. One at 
Sonning, Berks., goes back to about 1 300, and those at Hadleigh 
and Stowmarket in Suffolk are also of the fourteenth century. 
Others again belong to the period just before the Reformation, 
and are probably genuine clock bells, as at Bocking, Great 
Chesterford, and Littlebury, Essex ; Linton, Cambs. ; Stoke-by- 
Clare, Suffolk. They are usually fixed "dead" in a frame, as 
they only require to be struck by a hammer, not swung with a 
rope. In the Eastern counties they are sometimes hung outside 
on the spire, as at Hadleigh and Stowmarket, Suffolk ; Braintree, 

1 Act v. Sc. 5. 

2 There are modern examples of the same type at Benson's, the clock- 
makers, in Cheapside. 

3 See also Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, xxv. p. 277 ; T. Dyer, Church 
Lore Gleanings, p. 197 ff. 



Essex ; Histon, Cambs., and else- 
where. Our illustration (174) 
gives an example of two bells 
thus hung at Barnstaple, Devon- 

St. Paul's Cathedral and 
Worcester Cathedral possess not 
only special hour-bells, but also 
quarter- bells, as does Kidder- 
minster parish church ; and there 
are many examples in secular 
edifices, of which the best known 
is the palace of Westminster. 

The famous Cambridge chimes 
were composed by the famous 
musician Crotch when a young 
man, the mechanical part being 
the work of Dr. Jowett, Regius 
Professor of Laws at Cambridge. 
They were put up in St. Mary's 
Church in 1793, and are in the key 
of D, the notes struck being : — 

1st quarter 
2nd quarter 

3rd quarter 




(Hour on D an octave below.) 

It will be seen that each combin- 
ation of notes is repeated twice, 
there being five in all. It is said 
that for the first quarter chime 
(fed a) Crotch adapted the well- 
known movement in the opening 
symphony of Handel's " I know 
that my Redeemer liveth." The 
Westminster chimes and those of 
the Royal Exchange, London, and 

those of most of our public clocks are on the lines of, if not 

identical with, the Cambridge chimes. 1 

1 See Grimthorpe, Clocks, Watches, and Bells (1903 edn.), p. 202 fif. 





E D A 




Clock-bells hung outside spire 
Barnstaple, Devon 

(From Lethaby) 



THE methods of bell-founding have already been described 
in a previous chapter ; it now remains to give some 
account of the principal English foundries in which that art was 
practised, and of the men by whom it was carried to success, 
from the earliest records of the mediaeval period down to the 
present day. It will be found convenient to divide the subject 
into two sections : mediaeval or pre-Reformation, and modern 
or post-Reformation. 

The earliest records of bell-founders in England hardly go 
farther back than the thirteenth century, and before that we are 
in the region of the mythical or at least of pre-history. As 
noted elsewhere (p. 18), it is probable that in earlier times this 
art was largely practised by the monks, who similarly devoted 
themselves to architecture and many other arts in the days 
before professional gilds of craftsmen came into existence. St. 
Dunstan and his forge is a familiar instance. 

The ancient bell-founders seem as a rule not to have been 
very great personages. Now and then one of them is called 
campanarius or brasiarius ; far more often ollarius, which, without 
any wish to give them offence, may be Englished " tinker." 
With one or two exceptions every London bell -founder styled 
himself ollarius until quite late in the fourteenth century. In 
London the founders congregated mostly in the district between 
St. Andrew Undershaft and St. Botolph Aldgate, where Billiter 
Street yet remains to remind us of their industry, the word being 
of course a corruption of " bellyetere," the earliest English word 
in use to describe the profession. In the early records of many 
provincial towns, such as Lynn, Bristol, Gloucester, Worcester, 
etc., we find mention of bell-founders, whose Christian name is 
given with Bellyeter as their only surname or descriptive title, 1 
down to the fifteenth century. With regard to the word 
campanarius, however, it should be mentioned that there is some 

1 See list of founders in Appendix, under that heading. 

17 *W 


doubt whether it has this signification. Ducange defines the 
word as custos campanarii qui campanas pulsare solet, and further 
states that campanarii vulgo in ecclesiis maxime cathedralibus ex 
ordine cleri sunt} He gives numerous references in support of 
this view, and the only authority who defines the word as "bell- 
founder" is one Johannes de J anna. In short, campanarius is 
the technical word for the deacon who usually held the office of 
bell-ringer in monastic or collegiate establishments (see above, 
p. 85), and Alwoldus, and Benet le Seynter of London (1150- 
121 5) and Simon of Worcester (1226), who are thus designated, 
must not be regarded as early founders. 2 

On the other hand, there is some evidence that monks and 
other ecclesiastics were skilled in the bell-founding craft. At 
St. Alban's Abbey about 1275, Roger Norton the abbot had two 
new bells made " under the superintendence of Sir John de 
Marins, then Prior" ; and one of these being broken about 1340 
was recast by Friar Adam de Dankastre, in the hall of the 
sacristy. 3 The monks of Bury St. Edmunds also seem to have 
been skilled in the art, as has been noted in Chapter I. Next 
we meet with a York exponent of the craft, in the person of 
Friar William de Towthorpe, who in 1308 made the beautiful 
bell-metal mortar for the Infirmary of St. Mary's Abbey, which 
now adorns the Philosophical Society's Museum. 4 It bears the 
inscription : — 

►J- FR . WILLS . DE . TOVTHORP . ME . FECIT . A . D . M . CCC . VIII. 

Another ecclesiastical founder of this century was Thomas 
Hickham of Canterbury, sacrist of St. Augustine's, who cast a 
bell for the cathedral in 1358. In the fifteenth century there 
appears to have been some founding done by the monks of 
Worcester, the results of whose efforts still hang in some towers 
in the neighbourhood (see p. 200). One of these bells is dated 
1480, another 1482, the latter bearing the name of Robert Multon, 
prior of the cathedral. 

We have a very interesting record of a monastic founder in 
the sixteenth century in the person of Sir William Corvehill of 
Wenlock Priory, Shropshire, who died in 1 546. A long account 

1 Cf. Archbp. Egbert of York, Excerptiones, cap. 2 (in Migne's Fatrot., 
vol. 88). 

2 Cf. Stahlschmidt, Surrey Be/Is, p. 72. 

3 Stahlschmidt, Herts., pp. 103, 104. 

4 See Benson in York Philos. Soc. Report, 1898, and Ass. Archit. Soc. 
Rep., xxvii. p. 626, plate. 


of him is given in the Register of the then vicar, John Boteler, 
which has happily been preserved. The following is a more 
accurate transcript than has been given in most of the previous 
citations of the document. 1 

1546. 26 May. Here was buryed out of the Strete called Mardfold out of 
the two Tenements nexte unto Sanct Owens Well on the same side of the well 
the body of Sir William Corvehill Priest, of the service of Our Blessed Lady 
St. Marie within the Churche of the holy Trinite which two hows belonging 
to the said service he had in his occupacion with their appertenances and 
parte of his wages which was viij markes and the said hows in an overplus ; 
whose body was buryed in the chancell of our blessed Ladie befor th'altar 
under the Ston in the myddle of the said altare upon the left hande as ye 
treade and stand on the heighest steppe of the thre befor the said altare, 
whose fete streche forth under the said altare to the wall in the East of 
thaltare the body ther lying within the Erth in a tomb of lyme and ston which 
he caused to be made for himselfe for that intent after the reryng and 
buldyng of the new Ruff of the said chansell which reryng framyng and new 
reparyng of thaltare and chancell was don throw the councill of the said Sir 
William Corvehill who was excellently and singularly experte in dyverse of 
the vij liberal sciences and especially in geometre not greatly by speculac'on 
but by experience and few or none of handye crafte but that he had a very gud 
insight in them as the making of Organs of a clocke and chimes an in 
kerving in Masonrie and weving of Silke an in peynting, and noe instrumente 
of musike beyng but that he coulde mende it and many gud ghifts the man 
had and a very paciant man and full honeste in his conversac'on and lyvng, 
borne here in this borowe of Moche Wenlok and some tyme moncke in the 
monastrie of St. Myburghe here. Two brethren he had. One called 
Dominus John Monke in the said monastrie and a Secular prieste called 
Sir Andrew Corvehill who dyed at Croydon beside London, on whose soule 
and all Christian soules Almighty God have mercy. Amen. All this 
contrey hath a great losse of the death of the said Sir William Corvehill 
for he was a gud Bell founder, and a maker of the frame for bells. 

This is fairly definite evidence that Sir William understood 
the various branches of the craft, though it has not been possible 
to identify any existing or recorded bells as his work. But in 
the other instances cited, it is quite possible that the persons 
named were only in the same capacity as a custos operis, with 
the various craftsmen under him, like most of the mediaeval 
dignitaries who have acquired renown as architects. 

But for the most part we have to deal in this section of our 
work with the ordinary craftsman, sometimes a skilled and 
artistic workman, sometimes a mere journeyman picking up 
jobs where he could. The large number of founders at work- 
in early times, as for instance in London or York in the four- 
teenth century, is accounted for by the circumstance that they 
did not confine themselves to bell-founding. As we have 
already seen, they were often known as ollarii, makers of metal 
pots, or " brasyers," whose craft included other kinds of manu- 

1 See for the best published version J. C. Cox, Parish Registers^ p. 28. 


facture in brass or copper or bell-metal. Thus it is that we 
frequently find the laver, a metal pot something" like a modern 
coffee-pot, used as a bell-founder's badge, as on the seal of 
Sandre of Gloucester (199) or the foundry-shields of Henry 
Jordan and John Bird of London (188, 304). There is a 
fine example of a fourteenth-century laver of bell-metal in the 
Victoria and Albert Museum, with an old English inscription 
in letters resembling those used by London founders of the 
period, and it is probably the work of a bell-founder. The 
mortars of bell-metal, of which many examples exist, dating 
from the fourteenth century to the seventeenth, are also examples 
of what the bell-founders could do in other directions. They 
are often ornamented with similar devices to those found on 
bells, and some even bear the names of known founders. There 
is one in the British Museum (183) by William Land (p. 218) and 
another at South Kensington by William Carter of London 
(p. 216). One of the oldest known, at St. Just-in-Penwith, 
Cornwall, bears the stamps of Robert Norton, an Exeter founder 
of about 1420 (see p. 197). 

Some bell-founders must have rivalled Sir William Corvehill 
in their attainments. Magister Hugo of Bury St. Edmunds 
(11 20-1 150) was quite a Donatello ; he not only cast a bell for 
the abbey, but also executed the great bronze doors in the 
west front, and a wonderfully fine crucifix for the choir, besides 
illuminating a large Bible " incomparabiliter." 1 

Other founders combined bell-founding with quite different 
trades. Not only was there the humble journeyman tinker, 
who, when the demand for bells was slack, turned his attention 
to pots and pans, and perhaps went round the countryside with 
his van. But even the big men sometimes condescended to this 
kind of work, as when Thomas Church of Bury St. Edmunds 
in 1500 received from King's College, Cambridge, 20s. 4d. for 
recasting a bell, and also 16s. for saucepans and ladles for the 
kitchen. 2 But in the earlier days of the college, John Danyell, 
who was, as Stahlschmidt suggests, 3 entitled to place the Royal 
Arms on his bells on the strength of having done work for the 
Royal Foundation, also appears in the capacity of a vintner, 
receiving for a cask of wine the sum of 54s. 4d. 4 Roger Reve 
of Bury, in a contract made with the parish of Debden in Essex 
111 I533» i- s described as a " clothear." ■' A predecessor of his 

1 See M. R. James in Cantb. Antiq. Soc. Public, xxviii. pp. 7, 128 

134, 199- 

2 J. W. Clark in Camb. An////, Commimic. iv. p. 234. 

3 C/i. Belts of Herts., p. 22. 4 J. W. Clark, op. n't., p. 228. 
5 Peedes and Walters, Essex, p. 52. 


has on his foundry-shield not only a bell but a cannon (see p. 
306), implying that he combined the art of gun-founding with 
that of bell-casting, as did Matthew Bagley of London in later 
days, with tragic results (p. 219). 

Then we have the itinerant journeyman founders whose work 
is found scattered over several districts, and who may therefore 
be assumed to have had no settled home, but to be of the 
" travelling tinker " order of craftsman. Sometimes their work 
was wretched, as in the case of Michael Darbie in the seventeenth 
century, who got into disgrace with the authorities at Oxford 
for his "knaveries," and of whom Dr Raven says, "one specimen 
of his casting seems to have been enough for a neighbourhood." 
Others again performed very creditably, and enjoyed a consider- 
able reputation. Perhaps the best of these was John Waylett. 
of whom we speak at length on a later page (p. 234). Other 
good workers were John Dier (1575- 1600), who perambulated 
the South-eastern Midlands, from Bucks to Suffolk, and John 
Clarke, who is found in man}- counties from Norfolk to Hants. 
There are several other men of this type who worked in Sussex, 
Kent, and Hants in the time of Queen Elizabeth ; and it is in 
fact just at this period that the itinerant element is most marked 
in the history of bell-founding. The regular trade had not yet 
recovered from the "storm and stress" of the Reformation crisis; 
the demand for new bells had become intermittent, and several 
of the great mediaeval foundries had died out or were dying. 
It was therefore the opportunity of the jobbing worker, and- 
mam- seemed to have seized their chance. 

One of the most remarkable features of bell-founding in 
mediaeval times is the extensive reputation which some founders 
enjoyed, and the marvellous way in which they surmounted the 
difficulties of transport in those clays. The work of the London 
founders is still to be found in almost every county in England, 
from Northumberland and Durham to Cornwall, as well as in 
Lancashire and the Western Midlands ; and one example has 
even turned up in Aberdeenshire. Doubtless, many of these 
bells journeyed to their destination by sea ; and the same 
explanation may be given of the presence of bells from the 
Bristol foundry in Devon, Cornwall, and South Wales. On the 
other hand, the Gloucester founders, both in mediaeval and in 
later days, made use of the Severn as an obvious water-way, 
and their bells are found in Shropshire, and even Mont- 
gomeryshire ; subsequently all over the Western Midlands. 
Their reputation even reached to East Anglia, and the Sacrists' 
Rolls of Ely Cathedral tell us how a new ring of four large 
bells was conveyed from Gloucester to Northampton, and 


thence down the Nene and by way of Lynn to Ely, for 
Alan de Walsingham's new lantern tower in 1346. 1 The 
actual cost of transport is not clearly indicated in the accounts, 
but it must have been heavy. In fact, such operations can only 
have been carried out at vast expense. Big teams of oxen 
were needed, and many men, who required the assistance of 
large quantities of beer ; and if the foundry were far distant, 
the caravan would spend some nights on the way. In 1548 
the churchwarden of Woodbury, Devon, took the bells to 
Aish Priors in Somerset to be recast ; he had with him seven 
men and nine oxen. 

Obviously it was cheaper where possible to have the bells cast 
on the spot, and therefore the advent of the journeyman founder 
was often welcomed. Otherwise, the bell-founder had to play 
the part of Mohammed, and " go to the mountain," the cost of 
conveying his apparatus being far less than that of the heavy 
bells. He would then erect a temporary furnace and employ 
local labour; the churchyard generally seems to have been 
utilised for the purpose. Evidence of the existence of a furnace 
has been discovered in many places, as at Scalford in Leicester- 
shire, and Empingham in Rutland ; at the former place a 
mass of bell-metal was found which had plainly been in a 
state of fusion on the spot. There are some very interesting 
entries in the Churchwardens' Accounts of Ludlow for 1624-25, 
when two bells were recast by an itinerant founder, Richard 
Oldfield, giving full details of the construction of a furnace 
in a neighbouring garden, and of the taking down and putting 
up of the bells. 2 Again, in the parish accounts of Kirby Malzeard, 
Yorkshire, for 1591 occurs the entry " For paveing the Church 
where the Bell was casten ij s ." : '' This seems to imply that the 
casting was actually done in the church itself, probably under 
the tower, so that the bell might be read}- for hauling up ; and 
similar evidence comes from South Littleton in Worcestershire, 
where a pit with remains of metal was found between the font 
and the tower. 4 

Great Tom of Lincoln was cast in the Minster Yard in 1610 
by Oldfield of Nottingham and the Newcombes of Leicester ; 5 
and the great bell of Canterbury Cathedral under similar circum- 
stances in 1762 by Lester and Pack of Whitechapel. The ring 
of bells at Martley, Worcestershire, was cast on the spot in 1673 

1 Raven, Ca/nbs., p. 5 ff. 

- Sliropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser., iv. (1904) p. 54. 

'■'' Ellacombe, Bells of the Chutch, p. 479. 

4 Evesham Journal, 14th Sept. 1901. 

5 North, Ch. Bells of Lines., p. 523. 


by Richard Keene of Woodstock; as were also those of Ring- 
mer, Sussex, in 1682 by William Hull, 1 and those of Llantrissant, 
Glamorgan, in 17 18 by Evans of Chepstow.'- In the last-named 
instance the furnace was built against the south wall of the tower. 
A bell was ordered from Gloucester in 171 1 by the parish of 
Brigham in Cumberland, but a compromise appears to have been 
arrived at, and the founder journeyed as far as Kendal and 
there performed the work. 3 We sometimes have evidence that a 
founder went on tour and spent some time in a distant district, 
picking up all the work he could in the time, as is shewn by 
the number of his bells still remaining in that part. Thus the 
Purdues of Salisbury were obviously at Chichester in 1665 ; and 
Bryan Eldridge of Chertsey migrated to Coventry in 1654, and 
cast bells in that neighbourhood for two years. 4 Thomas 
Gardiner of Sudbury migrated more than once, to Ingatestone 
in Essex, and to Norwich. 5 

In the following pages a survey is given of the known English 
foundries, 6 first in mediaeval times and then in the period subse- 
quent to the Reformation. One fact that may surprise the 
reader is the enormous number that existed, even in compara- 
tively early days, in spite of the widespread reputation of some 
of the greater foundries. The height of the industry was perhaps 
reached in the seventeenth century, when the reaction from 
Puritanism and the introduction of change-ringing gave such a 
great impetus to the craft ; but even by the end of this century 
we may observe a tendency to monopoly on the part of such 
great firms as the Rudhalls of Gloucester, and in a hundred 
years' time this is even more marked. One by one the lesser 
foundries become extinct, and first Gloucester, then London 
reigns supreme. While in 1700 there were some thirty or more 
foundries in existence, in 1800 there were not more than half the 
number ; and during the nineteenth century the industry was 
almost wholly in the hands of the Mearses of London and later 
on also of the Warners and the Taylors. 

In London the historical records of bell-founding begin about 
the end of the thirteenth century. Our knowledge of the subject 
is mainly derived from J. C. L. Stahlschmidt's invaluable and 

1 Reliquary, N.S., iii. p. 197. 

'-' Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, 1. p. 60. See for other instances, Tyssen, 
Church Bells of Sussex, p. 45. 

:i Cumb. and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., xiv. p. 276. 

4 Tilley and Walters, Ch. Bells of IVanc, p. 58. 

6 Oeedes and Walters, Essex, p. 126. 

(i General reference should be made to the list of founders in the 
Appendix, with the bibliographies there given. 


epoch-making work, Surrey Bells and London Bell-founders, to 
which little has really been added since it was published in 1884, 
though his subsequent researches and those of his successors 
among the bells themselves have helped 'to clear up a few 
difficulties and fill up a few lacunae. Stahlschmidt by dint of 
investigation of the City Archives, especially the rolls of the 
Hustings Court, the records of the Founders' Company, and 
wills, extracted the names of between seventy and eighty possible 
bell-founders between the years 1275 and 1418. 1 Some of these 
names are found on existing bells ; others are proved by their 
wills to have been founders, and from the same source we learn 
their connection with one another. Others again are merely 
styled ollarii or potters, but as this word in mediaeval Latin 
appears to denote makers of metal pots rather than of clay 
vessels, and as moreover four of those whose names appear on 
bells are thus described, it is a reasonable inference that all 
worked in metal, if they did not all cast bells. Towards the 
middle of the fourteenth century the terms "brazier" and 
" bellyetere " are substituted for ollarius, and the latter, as we 
shall seej frequently occurs in other places, while the Brasyers 
of Norwich were among the most famous founders of the 
fifteenth century. The district in which the bell-founders 
practised their craft was that lying between the churches of St. 
Botolph, Aldgate, and St. Andrew Undershaft (see p. 175); as 
may be seen from the wills, these two churches were pre- 
eminently associated with the bell-founders. 2 

Towards the end of the thirteenth century we have fairly 
frequent mention of three members of a family named Wymbish, 
originally hailing from Essex, as founders in Aldgate. Michael 
de Wymbish in a deed of 1297 is styled "Michael the potter," 
and in another of 13 10 "Michael de Wymbish, late potter," 
indicating that he died before that year. Five bells still exist 
bearing his name, all in Bucks. They are inscribed alike : — 

CQKgF^eij : DC : yyyfflBIS : (US : FG(gI© 

His contemporary, Richard Wymbish, is mentioned as a 
"potter" in 1303, and again between 1307 and 13 15. Riley 3 
quotes a document in which he agrees to cast a bell for the 
Priory of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, in 1 3 1 2. But that he was 
working at least as early as 1290 is shown by a bell at Goring, 
Oxfordshire, inscribed : — 

1 See the list in Surrey Bells, p. 72. 

2 Cf. ibid., p. 2. 

3 Memorials, p. 47. 

1 83 

c .5 



* or^se : efjo : eefei^o : exoiiiensi : GEIStsOEI 

* I^KS^D : DG : ttK/CQBIS : fflG : PIS© 

This bishop was Peter Quivil, who died in 1291, and as the 
prayer is not for his soul the bell must have been cast in his 
lifetime. Richard's bells are fairly numerous, and there are 
also two in Northants bearing his name, one in Kent, one in 
Suffolk, and formerly one in Essex. Another which may be 
assigned to him from similarity of lettering is the treble at 
Westminster Abbe) 7 . He used three or four different alphabets 
of Gothic capitals, one of which is here illustrated (185), from a 
bell formerly at Exhall, Warwickshire. 1 The third of the name, 

m %m 


rv "IP- ' - r) \F\ 

"ff^ "V^ v ""> • » ^j TV •*>■ \v-, 


Richard Wymbish's lettering (formerly at Exhall, Warwick) 

Walter, is only known from a bell at Kingston-by-Lewcs, Sussex, 
but a bell formerly at Thurning, Hunts (183) may also be his work. 

Contemporary with the Wymbishes was Geoffrey le Potter, 
whose name occurs in 1303, and whom Stahlschmidt identified 
— probably correctly — with the Geoffrey of PCdmonton, whose 
name, spelled GALFRIDVS DE HEDEMTVN, was on the old bell 
of Billericay church, Essex, recast in 1890. The early charactcr 
of his lettering is shown by the Roman form of the M and N (282).- 

The next name of importance is that of Peter de Weston, 
whose date is 1336-1347. His name occurs on five bells, in 

1 Surrey Hells, pis. 2, 3 ; Essex, pis. 1. 2. 
'-' Stahlschmidt, Surrey Hells, pi. 5. 


Bucks., Essex (two), Middlesex, and Oxfordshire. The three 
different-sized alphabets which he used were adopted by his 
successor William Revel, mentioned in 1357, whose bells occur 
in Essex, Kent, and Norfolk ; the smallest (187) occurs at Tatten- 
hoe, Bucks., and Longfield, Kent. Other names found on bells 
and in documents of this period are those of William Schep 
(1347- 1 349), formerly at Garboldisham, Norfolk, and Robert 
Rider (135 1- 1386), found in Essex, Kent, and Sussex. 

Henceforth London founders ceased to place their names 
on their bells, and consequently documentary evidence aids us 
less ; the bells must be classified on internal evidence alone, 
and then assigned to the most likely founder of the time to 
which they appear to belong. A study of the various stamps 
and sets of lettering makes it possible to ascertain the succession 
of one founder to another in the different groups of bells, and 
further we can distinguish two main lines of founders, each with 
their separate sets of stamps. They cover the period i38otoi520, 
but one line apparently dies out earlier than the other. It is 
also worth noting that in each line we can observe the transition 
from the exclusive use of Gothic capitals to the black-letter with 
initials or "mixed Gothic" which took place about the year 

To take first the more short-lived line, we have chiefly in the 
Home Counties a group of bells with inscriptions in capitals, 
evidently of late fourteenth-century date, and another group in 
" mixed Gothic," in which the same capitals are used for the 
initials. Stahlschmidt assigned these two groups to William 
and Robert Burford respectively, 1 the father's date being 1371- 
1392, the son's, 1392- 141 8. Though only a conjecture, it seems 
a perfectly reasonable one. Next we have a group of bells 
distinguished by the use of a foundry-shield with a bend be- 
tween a cross and a ring, many of which bear the initial cross 
and letters assigned to the Burfords. These have been identified 
as the work of one Richard Hille (1423-1440), 2 and one or two 
on which a lozenge appears above the shield must be by his 
widow Joanna after his death. Hille also inherited the capital 
letters used by Stephen Norton, a Kent founder, which are 
beautifully ornamented and surmounted by crowns (282). 

We next find the same stamps on a group of bells with the 
initials I. S. in some cases accompanied by a lozenge, and these 
we may follow Stahlschmidt in assigning to one John Sturdy 
(1440- 1 456) and subsequently to his widow Joanna, who is 
identical with the former Joanna Hille. This we may gather 

1 Ch. Bells of Kent, p. 34 ; cf. Cocks, Bucks., p. 24. 
- See Surrey Bells, p. 49 fr". 






Kebyll's trade-mark 

from the records of Faversham, which include contracts for bells 
made respectively with Joanna Hille, widow, in 1441, and 
Joanna Sturdy, widow, in 1 459. 1 Lastly these stamps were in 
the hands of a founder who uses as trade-mark a shield with 
three mullets and a crescent (188), the arms of the Keble family. 
It is tempting to identify him with John 
Kebyll, a wheelwright, who did some bell- 
hanging for St. Stephen's, Walbrook, 
London, in 1480, but this can only be a 

Proceeding on the same lines of investi- 
gation, it has been possible to disentangle 
the other and more important line of 
London founders. It begins with John 
Langhorne, a founder whose name occurs 
between 1379 and 1405. 2 To him are 
assigned a group of bells with inscriptions 
in small capitals, some of which are marked 
by the use of a shield with three laver- 
pots (p. 178). This shield (188) was afterwards used in con- 
junction with another founder's mark, that of William Founder 
(p. 303), whom Stahlschmidt was enabled to identify further as 
William Dawe. 3 We can only attribute to the latter the twenty- 
five bells on which the medallion occurs, but others of similar 
type may also be his work. His 
capital letters are an enlarged version 
of Langhorne's, but they only occur 
alone on one bell, all the others being 
" mixed Gothic." Dawe has two 
associates, William Wodewarde and 
John Bird, who appear to have used 
a yet larger version of the capitals 
aforesaid (290). Bird was probably 
the latest in point of date, and did 
most of his work after Dawe's death 
in 1420. Some of his bells are very 
fine productions, notably two at 
Christchurch, Oxford, from Oseney 
Abbey, and the old tenor at Brailes, 
Warwickshire, now recast, with its 
beautiful inscription (see p. 323) reproduced. It should be 
noted that nearly all the bells in this group are remarkable for 

1 Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells, p. 51 ; Hist. MSS. Com;/!., 6th Report. 

2 Deedes and Walters, Essex, p. 24. 

3 Ch. Bells of Kefit, p. 26. 

Trade-mark of Langhorne 
and Dawe 



Crosses used by Walgrave, Danyell, etc. 

the excellence and originality of their inscriptions, mostly in 
leonine or rhyming hexameters. 1 

Bird is mentioned in Dawe's will along with John Walgrave, 
the latter being identified as the founder of a large group of 
bells bearing a shield with the letters t \V. Walgrave intro- 
duced seme new 
stamps, including 
two floriated crosses 
(189) and a set of 
medium-sized capi- 
tal letters (187), 
which are used by 
no less than four of 
his London succes- 
sors. Next came 
Robert Crowch, 
whose bells are few, 
and whose careerwas 
probably short. His 

foundry-shield (189) bears the initials V C, and he also uses one 
with the three leopards of England. It is a curious fact that his 
bells, though k\v, are found in such distant counties as Cheshire, 
Cornwall, Shropshire, and Worcestershire. 

During the period 1450- 1470 there appear to have been two 
contemporary owners of the foundry, 
as they are both mentioned about the 
same date, and their stamps are much 
intermixed. Their names are John 
Danyell and Henry Jordan, and about 
a hundred bells still existing in all parts 
of England can be attributed to each 
respectively. Both founders appear in 
connection with the casting of a ring of 
five for King's College, Cambridge, 
which were originally made by Danyell 
in 1460. 2 They, however, proved un- 
satisfactory, and some were recast by 
Jordan a few years later. But that 
Danyell's treble and tenor remained, we 
know from a very careful drawing of the 
inscriptions made in the eighteenth century, and preserved in the 

1 See Deedes and Walters, Church Bells of Essex, p. 28 ; several are 
given in Chaps. XII. and XIV. 

2 J. W. Clark in Camb. Antiq. Comin., iv. p. 223 fF. ; C/i. Bells of Cambs., 
p. 28. 

Trade-mark of R. Crowch 



College Archives. 1 Danyell used the two crosses introduced by 
Walgrave, and also the Royal Arms (see p. 310) and a beautiful 
cross (297) round which are the words ibll lllCrCl laM belp. 
The latter was also used by Jordan interchangeably with one of 
the Walgrave crosses, and he has two foundry-shields of his own, 
one of which is of considerable interest ; it is described on p. 304. 
Jordan died about 1470, and there is a break of some 
thirty years in the history of the foundry. During this period 
we hear of a Thomas Harrys, who recast one of the King's 
bells in 1478 ; 2 he has been identified as the founder of a 
small group of bells with the initials T. H., one of which is 
at Hampton Court. He sometimes uses a set of capitals 
formerly belonging to a Worcester founder (see p. 200). 

Early in the sixteenth century the 
old stamps reappear in conjunction with 
a shield with a bell and the letters XL b 
(190). These have been identified as 
the work of (Thomas) Bullisdon, a 
founder who cast a bell for St. Mary- 
at-Hill, London, in i5io. :; Among his 
bells, which are fairly numerous, are the 
ring of five, still complete, at St. Bar- 
tholomew the Great, Smithfield, origin- 
ally cast for the parochial use of that 

This ring of bells, from its unique 
character, may be considered to deserve 
a (e\v words of further description, 
especially as few Londoners may be 
aware that they possess such interesting relics of antiquity in 
their midst. Each bears the name of a different saint, with the 
formula Sancte (or Sancta) . . . Ora Pro Nobis, in black-letter 
with Gothic initials. The treble is dedicated to the patron 
saint, St. Bartholomew (see below, p. 270), and the others to 
St. Katharine, St. Anne, St. John the Baptist, and St. Peter 
respectively (in order of size). Each in addition bears the 
foundry-shield already described, and after the saint's name a 
stop in the form of a double lozenge. They are small in size, 
the diameter of the tenor being only 31 in. 

Trade-mark of Bullisdon 

1 See the reproduction in Clark's paper and Raven's book ; and cf. 
Blomefield, Coll. Cantab., p. 126. 

2 Clark and Raven, locc. citt. ; for Harrys' existing bells, see Deedes and 
Walters, Essex, p. 41. 

3 Littlehales, Medieval Records of a City Ch. (E. E. Text Soc, 125), 
pp. 270, 275. 



Of William Culverden, who also worked for St. Mary-at-Hill 
in 1510, the will is in existence, dated 1523. 1 The curious rebus 
shield, by means of 
which his twenty- 
and-odd remaining 
bells have been iden- 
tified, is fully de- 
scribed on p. 305. He 
discards the old 
London stamps alto- 
gether, except one of 
the crosses used by 
the Burfords and John 
Sturdy, and intro- 
duces a new set of 
large bold capitals 
with an inferior set of 
"black-letter" (191). 

Last of the London 
mediaeval founders is 
Thomas Laurence, 
mentioned in Culver- 
den's will and in other 
documents, whose 
bells have been identi- 
fied by the stamp of 
a gridiron which oc- 
curs at Toft, Cambs., 
and Margaretting, 
Essex. 2 He is re- 
markable for harking 
back to the old style 
of inscriptions in 
capitals, and his bells 
at Leaden Roothing 
(dated i523)and Dod- 
dinghurst, Essex, and 
others in Kent and 
Sussex, might easily 
be mistaken for four- 
teenth-century speci- 
mens, if we had not 

1 Raven, Cambs., p. 44. 

2 See Deedes and Walters, Ch. Bells of Essex, p. 44, and cf. Cocks, 
Bucks., p. 45. 

- u. 



the stamps to guide us. He ended his days at Norwich, but we 
do not know that he cast any bells there, and his capital letters 
found their way to Reading, where they are used by Joseph 
Carter in the reign of Elizabeth. 

The above account of the principal London foundries may 
serve as a typical example of how comparative campanology 
has been studied, on the lines worked out by Stahlschmidt in his 
Surrey Bells and elsewhere, and by other writers following him, 
who have thus been enabled to apply the same method to other 


IT is now time to turn to the chief provincial foundries, which 
may for convenience be grouped geographically : south- 
eastern, south-western, west midland, northern, and eastern. 

i. South-Eastern 

In the south-east of England London was of course pre- 
dominant, and the great majority of the bells in Essex, Herts., 
Surrey, Kent, and Sussex are from the metropolitan foundries. 
But there were several mediaeval foundries in the Home Counties, 
two at least of some importance. At Canterbury one William 
le Bellyetere was at work in 1325, and there are about a dozen 
of his bells in and round that city. His stamps subsequently 
migrated to Norwich. About 1360- 1390 we have Stephen 
Norton of Kent, probably living at Maidstone, whose beautiful 
stamps afterwards became the possession of a London founder 
(see p. 186). In the sixteenth century Richard Kerner and 
William Oldfield were also active in Kent, but their work is not 
found outside the county. In Sussex bell-founding was inter- 
mittent. Some early fourteenth-century bells round Chichester 
are evidently local work, and about 15 20- 15 30 a remarkable 
founder named John Tonne was casting in or near Lewes. He 
is probably the same as a John Tynne mentioned in Culverden's 
will, and appears to have been of French extraction, his bells 
being distinctly Continental in character. There are dated 
specimens at Sullington (1522) and Botolphs (1536) in Sussex, 
and the ornamentation, as noted elsewhere (p. 310), is very 
elaborate. Subsequently he migrated to North-west Essex, and 
cast bells for that district about 1 535-1 545, one of which, at 
Stanstead, is dated 1540. He was succeeded by his brother 
Stephen, from whom we have richly-ornamented bells at Wood 
Ditton, Cambs. (1544), and Felstead, Essex (1546). 1 

In the small village of Toddington, Bedfordshire, there was 

1 Deedes and Walters, Essex, p. 59. 
1 9 193 


a foundry of some importance in the fourteenth century, owned 
by John Rufford (1367) and his son William (1380-1400). 1 The 
former is mentioned in a Patent of Edward III. of 1367 appoint- 
ing him Royal Bell-founder. It is therefore interesting to find 
him using on his bells the stamps known as the Royal Heads 
(p. 299), which were also adopted by his son. Their bells are 
found in the counties of Beds., Bucks., Cambs., Essex, Hants, 
Herts., Hunts., Northants, and Suffolk. Two of John Rufford's 
at Christchurch, Hants, have interesting inscriptions, and 
William's name appears on a bell at Westmill, Herts. Their 
stamps, which appear to have been acquired from a Lynn 
founder named Derby, afterwards migrated to Worcester. The 
only other local foundry in this district was at Buckingham, 
where bells appear to have been cast early in the fourteenth 
century. 2 

In the county of Berks, a foundry sprang up at Wokingham 3 
towards the end of the fourteenth century, which flourished ex- 
ceedingly for a hundred years. Its earlier owners are unknown, 
but about 1448 it was in the hands of Roger Landen, and 
subsequently of John Mitchell. The earlier bells from this 
foundry are inscribed in fine crowned capitals, a good example 
being at Chertsey, from the abbey there. They have an 
initial cross of four fleurs-de-lys with a crown-moulding above, 
a coin, a grotesque lion's head with lolling tongue, and a square 
floral ornament, and some of the earliest have these marks alone 
without inscription. Landen introduced a foundry shield with 

R T 

the initials ,y , which was used by his successor ; but the 

latter's bells may be identified by a different form of the lion's 
head. These two use "Mixed Gothic" throughout. In the 
counties of Berks., Hants, and Oxon. nearly all the mediaeval 
bells are from this foundry, and they are also found in twelve 
other counties of south-east and southern England. 

This foundry came to an end about 1495, and removed to 
Reading. Mr Cocks 4 tells us that the people of Thame wanted 
a bell recast in that year, and sent men to Wokingham on 
horseback to see about it, but their journey was evidently fruit- 
less, and they returned as far as Henley, where they were 
directed to go on to Reading. 

In its new quarters the foundry was restarted with new 

1 Victoria County Hist, of Bucks., ii. p. 118. 

2 Cocks, Bucks., p. 14 ff. 

3 For a full account, see op. cit., p. 48 ff., and Vict, County Hist, of Berks., 
ii. p. 412 ff. 

4 Bucks., p. 58. 



stamps and lettering, 
and was in the hands 
successively of William 
and John Hazelwood, 
John White, William 
Welles, and Vincent 
Goroway. But their 
bells are few in num- 
ber, and have not 
indeed yet been iden- 
tified with certainty, 
except those of the first 
named, who is note- 
worthy for his bold yet 
simply-designed capi- 
tals (195). 

Another Reading 
founder, John Sanders 
C 1 539- 1 559), was a more 
successful craftsman, 
and his bells are fairly 
numerous. Most of 
them bear a shield 
which has been recently 
identified by Mr Cocks 
as the arms of Chertsey 
Abbey, and it is pos- 
sible that some of the 
earlier examples with 
this mark, including one 
at Aldbourn, Wilts., 
which bears a date 
(15 16) too early for our 
Sanders, were cast at 
that abbey. Sanders, 
like other founders of 
the time, reintroduces 
inscriptions in capitals, 
but as often as not con- 
tents himself with 

simple black-letter. Though he lived through the Reformati 
it did not appear to influence his views. 


2. South-Western 

In the south-western counties there were two important 
foundries, in the two cathedral cities of Salisbury and Exeter. 
But in neither case do our records go back earlier than the 
fifteenth century, and there are not many existing bells in this 
part of England which can be definitely assigned to the four- 
teenth. As so many of the church towers of Cornwall, Devon, 
Dorset, and Somerset were built in the fifteenth century, it is 
probable that the bells were largely recast at the same time, 
their small Norman predecessors only possessing makeshift 
single bells of a moderate size. 

We have, however, a record of a founder at Paignton, Devon, 
in 1285, named Roger de Ropeford, 1 who was succeeded by a 
William and a Robert of the same name. Roger is styled 
campanistarius, and received a yearly grant of a penny from 
Bishop Ouivil (p. 185) to assist him in his craft. In Dorset 
there are bells which must be assigned to the fourteenth century, 
but we hear little of local founders. Roger de Taunton was 
working at Bridport in 1 280, 2 and there was a Richard Brasyotter 
at Shaftesbury, whose will is dated 1449. 3 Another local man 
was one Thomas Hey, whose bells remain at Wraxall and else- 
where, and at West Chinnock, Somerset. He uses a very 
pretty little cross in a quatrefoil, of Early English type, and the 
bell at Wraxall is inscribed THOMAS HEY MAKEDE. 

At Salisbury the earliest record is of John Barber, whose will 
has lately been published by Mr. Tyssen, 4 bearing date 1403. 
It is well worth perusing for its religious feeling as well as for 
its antiquarian interest. Fortunately we are able to identify 
the bells cast by him, as he has placed his name on one at 
Chittern, W 7 ilts. There are two or three others in the county 
with the same small crowned capitals and an elaborate saltire 
cross and oblong stop, both also crowned ; and others in Hants, 
Dorset, and Gloucestershire. Barber left his plant to one Peter 
le Brasier, of whom nothing more is known, and from whom the 
stamps passed later into the hands of a Worcester founder. 

In 1 494- 1 498 we find Henry Pinker doing some work for 
the church of St. Edmund at Salisbury, 5 and in 1538 Roger 
Elys of that town cast a bell for Bramley, Hants. The former 

1 Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Devon, p. 163 ; Raven, Ch. Bells of Dorse/, p. 2. 

2 Hist. MSS. Comm., vi. p. 489. 

3 At Somerset House (18 Rous). Ex inform. Mr A. D. Tyssen. 

4 Wilts. Arch. Mag., xxxv. p. 351 ff. 

6 Swayne, Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Edmund, Sarum, pp. 43, 45 
(Wilts. Record Soc, 1896). 


may have cast some of a large group of bells in Dorset and 
South Wilts, which are evidently all from one foundry, and that 
almost certainly Salisbury. They are not, however, of special 
interest, the inscriptions being monotonous and the lettering 
featureless. They probably cover the period 1400- 1500. 

The only Exeter founder of whom we have a record is 
Robert Norton, who appears about 1425 in somewhat dubious 
circumstances. 1 The people of Plymtree in Devon filed a 
petition in the Court of Chancery for proceedings to be taken 
against him, on the ground that he had charged for more metal 
than he had contracted to supply for new bells. In spite of this 
lapse in commercial morality he appears to have been a success- 
ful founder, for there are many bells in Devonshire and the 
adjoining counties which bear a trade-mark with a bell and the 
letters r it, and there is no doubt that they are his work. 
Norton's inscriptions are partly in capitals, partly in black-letter, 
and the same stamps also occur on a group of bells with black- 
letter inscriptions only, but with the initials on the trade-mark 
altered to { t. This I.T. is clearly Norton's successor, but so far 
his name has not been identified. He uses six different leonine 
verses, some peculiar to this foundry, which are given in full 
on p. 325. One of his bells occurs as far away as Upton 
Magna in Shropshire, but may possibly be a second-hand bell. 

In Somerset there was no local mediaeval foundry, except 
one established at Aish Priors near Taunton in the reign of 
Henry VIII. by the somewhat eccentric Roger Semson or 
Simpson. He uses large sprawling semi-Gothic letters, and 
sometimes even Roman capitals, but his inscriptions are usually 
unexceptional in their theology. Ellacombe regards him as an 
excellent founder, though an uncultivated man. 

The majority of the Somerset pre-Reformation bells, like those 
of South Gloucestershire, North Wilts., Monmouth, and South 
Wales, come from the great mediaeval foundry at Bristol, one 
of the most important in mediaeval England. Its history has 
not yet been properly worked out, but the names cover a period 
of nearly three hundred years, beginning with Johannes le 
Bellyetere, who was praepositus of Bristol in 1236.' 2 Few 
Bristol bells can be traced to the fourteenth century, though 
there are at least two groups of bells in Gloucester and Somerset 
which belong to this period. But in the fifteenth they are much 
more numerous. One group, well represented in Somerset, is 
noteworthy for the similarity of the stamps to those of John 

1 Ellacombe, Devon, p. 46. 

2 Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc. Trans., xviii. p. 227 ; see for others 
Braikenridge and Bickley, Bristol Deeds, pp. 16, 19, &c. 



Ship used by a Bristol founder 

Barber of Salisbury (p. 196), and it has been suggested that 
they are the work of John Gosselin, whose father is mentioned 
in Barber's will, and who was a person of some importance in 
Bristol in the middle of the century. 1 He died in 1453. Of 
about the same date is another group, also with inscriptions in 

capitals, marked by the use of a 
stamp in the form of a ship (198), 
the heraldic badge of the city. 
At Wapley, Gloucs., are two bells 
on which this stamp occurs to- 
gether with the hand (198); each 
bell has a double inscription, one 
in capitals and one in black-letter. 
In 145 1 a Bristol founder cast 
a bell for the church of Yatton in 
Somerset, as we learn from the 
parish accounts,^ and this is prob- 
ably identical with one still hang- 
ing in the tower, with an inscrip- 
tion in fine large capitals. The 
same lettering appears on the 9th 
bell at Hereford Cathedral, which 
is inscribed : — 

Mark used bv Bristol founder 

03ILc5GLc(I)US m^^(£JII(€ (gOftSSI^UXI© fflG m 

s^n^sfic ©i^inisfisis r?onoF>e 

1 See Bickley, Little Red Book, i. p. 88, ii. pp. i6r, 169; Wadley, 
Bristol J Tills, p. 133. 2 Somerset Record Soc, iv. p. 92. 



but this William Warwick is more probably the donor than the 
founder. About 1480 the foundry was in the hands of one Vt, 
not yet identified, who uses a plain cross, with either capitals or 
smalls. Black-letter was only finally adopted by his successor, 
Thomas Geffries, who also signs his bells with his initials. He 
was sheriff of Bristol in 1525 and died in 1546, 1 being succeeded 
by his son Henry, who apparently changed the name to Jefferies, 
as his initials appear in the form bt 2 Bells by these two 
founders are numerous in the two counties and in North Wilts., 
and often bear inscriptions in English of a distinctly post- 
Reformation type, such as PRAISE GOD or ALL HONOUR 
BE TO GOD. The name of John White as a bell-founder also 
occurs about this time (1481-1531),' 1 but at present no bells have 
been assigned to him. 

3. The Western Midlands 

From Bristol we pass to Gloucester, another mediaeval 
foundry of great importance, and also going back to the thirteenth 
century. 4 Hugh le Bellyetere occurs about 
1270, and his daughter Christina "la bell- 
yutere" slightly later. Early in the four- 
teenth century comes Sandre of Gloucester, 
whose seal, bearing the words s • sandre • 
DE • glovcestre, with a bell and laver-pot 
(199), was found in the Thames many years 
ago. 5 His work can probably be traced in 
the county, and also at Besford in Worcester- 
shire. In 1 346 " Master John of Gloucester," 
probably Sandre's son, was commissioned to 
cast bells for Ely Cathedral, ' which implies 
that he was a founder of extensive reputa- 
tion. His bells at Ely no longer exist, 
but he is well represented by a group of 
bells with stamps similar to those used by 
Sandre, in Gloucestershire and other West Midland counties. 

Owing perhaps to the successful competition of the foundries 

1 Bickley, Little Red Book, ii. p. 212 ; see also So/uersel Record Sac, 
iv. p. 147 ; Trans. Devonsh. Assoc., xli. p 362. 

- See Somerset Record Soc, iv. p. 148. 

'•'■ Pearson, Churchwardens* Accounts of St. Michael, Bath (Somerset 
Arch. Soc, 1880), p. 83 ; Somerset Record Soc, iv. p. 145 ; cf Cocks, Ch. 
Bells of Bucks., p. 66. 

4 See generally Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc xxxiv. p. 109 ft". 

5 Arch, four/!., xiii. p. 73. 

,; Raven, Cambs., pp. 6, 10. 

Seal of Sandre of 


at Bristol and Worcester, there is now a break of about a 
hundred years in the activity of the Gloucester craftsmen, and 
the next name, that of Robert Hendley, occurring on a bell at 
St. Nicholas, Gloucester, probably dates from about the end of 
the fifteenth century. This Hendley uses a peculiar cross with 
one plain and three floriated arms, and a crown as stop. His 
bells are numerous round Gloucester, and occur in Hereford, 
Monmouth, Warwick, Worcester, Wilts., Salop, Brecknock, and 
Montgomery. About the same time lived William Henshaw, 
Mayor of Gloucester in 1503, 1508, and 1509, whose brass ma}' 
be seen in St. Michael's Church there, on which it is stated that 
he was a bell-founder. Richard Atkyns, who died in 1529, and 
Thomas Loveday (1527-55) are mere names. 

The Worcester foundry 1 was, as we have indicated, a great 
rival to that at Gloucester. The first names of bell-founders 
occur at the beginning of the fourteenth century, but the real 
activity of the foundry does not begin till about a hundred 
years later. Unfortunately, though there are three groups of 
bells which must have been cast at Worcester during the fifteenth 
century, we have only one founder's name during that period. 
The first group bear the stamps of William Rufford (see p. 194), 
including the Royal Heads, and these must have come to 
Worcester about 1410, after his death. They are found on 
man)- bells in Worcester and Hereford, and in the adjoining 
counties. The founder who succeeded the first owner of these 
stamps occasionally uses the Royal Heads, but otherwise his 
stamps are new, or rather derived from another source, to wit 
John Barber of Salisbury (p. 196). As his date appears to be 
about 1 450- 1 460, he is probably identical with Richard le 
Bellyetere, whose name occurs in 1464. 

The third group of Worcester-cast bells is a very remarkable 
one, though not large. Two of these bells, at Grimley and at 
Worcester St. Michael, are dated respectively 1482 and 1480 ; 
but the date is not stamped in the ordinary way, but in thin 
slightly-raised letters in a sort of cursive hand, produced by 
engraving in the mould. The former bell also has (in the same 
type) the name of Richard Multon, prior of Worcester, and the 
latter that of Thomas Clyvegrove, Rector of St. Michael's. On 
these bells we find a new set of " Royal Head " stamps, which 
do not occur elsewhere, except on two or three Gloucestershire 
bells, the founder of which inherited these stamps about 1600. 
The) T represent Henry VI., his queen Margaret, and Prince 
Edward who was slain at Tewkesbury. Accompanying these 

1 See generally Arch. Journ., lxiii. p. 187 ff. ; Assoc. Arch. Sacs. Reports, 
xxv. p. 561 ff. ; Tilley and Walters, Ch. Bells of Warw., p. 7 ff. 



are other stamps of a grotesque winged figure, a dragon, and 
a lion's head (201). It is not impossible that these bells were 
not cast by an ordinary founder, but under monastic supervision 
(p. 176); their inscriptions are sometimes scholarly, and the 
appearance of the prior's name at Grimley also seems to support 
this view. In the sixteenth century the foundry appears to have 
fallen on bad days, but its last representative, Nicholas Grene, 
whose will is dated 1541, 1 was the founder of a new dynasty of 
Greenes covering the next hundred years. 

The Worcester foundry may be noted as exhibiting a con- 
trast to those of the east and south of England, in that black- 
letter inscriptions never came into fashion there, at least during 
the fifteenth century ; and the same is also true of that at 
Gloucester, and to some extent of Bristol. In fact, all over the 
west and north of Eng- 
land, the old style of 
capitals throughout ap- 
pears to have been 
generally preferred. 

Continuing our sur- 
vey of this district, we 
find at Shrewsbury one 
Johannes le Belyetere 
enrolled as a gild mer- 
chant in 1356,' 2 whose 
name appears on a bell 
at Longnor in Salop. 
Later in the century 

there is a small group of bells in that count) - which were also 
probably cast at Shrewsbury ; as one or two of them have an 
occasional black-letter inserted in the inscriptions, they cannot 
be earlier than 1400. Staffordshire too was sparsely represented 
in the mediaeval period ; but we hear of a Henry Mitchell of 
Lichfield casting a bell for the Cistercians at Croxden in 1 3 1 3 , 3 
and a Michael de Lichfield is mentioned at the end of the pre- 
ceding century. 4 To the former of these it is possible to attri- 
bute a group of fourteenth-century bells in Staffordshire and 
adjoining counties. 

In Derbyshire a foundry arose at Chesterfield early in the six- 
teenth century, the tale of which has been told by Llewellyn Jewitt. 5 

Stamps of Worcester founder (1480) 

1 Arch. Journ., Ixiii. p. 189. 

2 Shrops/i. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser. ii. p. 77, vi. p. 5 1 . 
:; Lynam, Croxden Abbey, p. vi. 

4 Hewitt, Handbook of 'Lichfield Caf/i., p. 58. 
6 See Reliquary, xvi. p. 141 ff. 


William Heathcote, the son of a "brasier" named Ralph, 
.succeeded his father in 1502, and started a bell-founding busi- 
ness ; but he seems to have died early and was succeeded 
by his brother Ralph, who died in 1525. After him came 
a younger brother George, in whose will, dated 1558, he 
bequeaths " to my son Ralph all my moldes and Towles all 
Brass and Bell mettell and all other things in my work house 
apperteyning to my occupation." Jewitt assigns to this founder 
bells in Derbyshire and neighbouring counties which bear a 
shield with Q b and the filfot or Trior's hammer emblem. 
These are of a simple type, often without inscription beyond 
I b C and the founder's stamp or initials. 

4. The North of England 

The great foundries of the northern Midlands were located 
at Leicester and Nottingham. We do not as yet know as much 
of either as is to be desired, but the investigations of the late 
Miss Bateson 1 and of Mr Stevenson 2 in the Borough Records 
of those two towns, recently published, have yielded a rich 
harvest of bell-founders' names. It yet remains to assign to 
each the bells which on other grounds are associated with 
either place. 

At Leicester the earliest recorded name is that of Stephen 
le Bellyeter (1328-1348), followed by John Hose (1352-1366). 
To one of these two must be assigned a group of ten bells 
in the Midlands, inscribed in very richly-ornamented capitals, 
with an initial cross of similar character (285) ; one of these, at 
St. John's, Coventry, was given by Henry Doddenhall, Mayor 
of that city in 1350. These stamps appear subsequently in 
the hands of the Newcombes in the sixteenth century. Between 
1338 and 1354 we hear of Johannes de Stafford, a founder whose 
name appears on bells at Leicester and in Lincolnshire. The 
stamps used by him on these bells occur on some thirty others 
in the northern Midlands and in Yorkshire, all of which are 
similar in type, but some of them bear evidence of a later date 
(1400-1450). We also know that in 1371 a Johannes de Stafford 
was casting bells for York Minster, and that the same or 
another John was Mayor and M.P. for Leicester between 1366 
and 1384. It is therefore almost necessary to assume that there 
were two founders of the name. 

About the same time Johannes de Yorke was founding at 

1 Bateson, Records of the Borough of Leicester, Vols. ii. and iii., 1901- 

2 Stevenson, Records of the Borough of Nottingham, Vol. ii. 


Leicester, and left his name on a bell at Sproxtori ; he does 
not occur in the Borough Records, but as nearly all the remain- 
ing bells of this type are in Leicestershire, he must have 
worked in that county. As he introduces black-letter smalls 
on one bell his date cannot be much before 1400. In the 
Records the names of Thomas de Melton, William Noble, 
Thomas Innocent, and William Mellours cover the period 1368- 
1508, but only by conjecture can we assign any existing bells 
to them. Somewhat later is Thomas Bett (1524-1538), who 
held various civic offices, and who has been credited with the 
authorship of some half-dozen bells in the north of England 
which bear a shield with a bell and the letters T.B. He was 
preceded by Thomas Newcombe (1 506-1 520), the founder of a 
dynasty extending over a hundred years, which, however, does 
not seem to have risen to importance till after the Reformation, 
in the third generation. No bells can be assigned with certainty 
either to this Thomas or to his son Robert (1520-1561,). 

Of uncertain locality is a founder named Johannes de Colsale, 1 
who placed not only his name but the date 1409 on bells cast 
for Milwich, Staffs., and Beckingham, Notts. Similar bells are 
found in all the North Midland counties and in Yorkshire, 
and although there are six in Leicestershire and no more than 
three in any other county, it is more probable that he was a 
Nottingham than a Leicester man. Colsale may be a corruption 
of Cossall, a village near the former town. 

The Nottingham records 2 go back nothing like so far as 
those of Leicester, and the first bell-founders we hear of in this 
town are William Langton or William le Belyetere and Richard 
Redeswell (1433-1438). A family of Selyokes are also men- 
tioned between 1499 and 1548. But there are many bells in 
Notts., Derby, Lincoln, Yorks., and neighbouring counties which 
were almost certainly cast at Nottingham, and these bells cover 
a period of at least one hundred years. On some of them we 
find the Royal Heads formerly used by the Ruffords (p. 194), 
and these did not come to Nottingham before 1400. The typical 
Nottingham mark is a shield with a saltire cross (296) of which 
there is an earlier and a later variety. 

The last names previous to the Reformation are those of 
Richard Mellour (1488-1508) and his son Robert (1510-1525), 
both of whom were mayors of the town and held other 
important offices. Numerous bells in Notts, and Lincolnshire 
bear a shield with a bell and the letter R, and it is thought that 

1 See Tilley and Walters, Ch. Bells of Warwick, p. 18. 

2 See for an excellent summary the Victoria County I fist, of .Volts., ii. 
P- 3 6 7- 


these ma)- be the work of the Mellours. But the history of this 
foundry has not as yet been fully worked out, and it is therefore 
impossible to deal with it here as fully as some of the others 
discussed in this section, in spite of its undoubted importance 
and reputation. 

In the whole of the six northern counties only one mediaeval 
foundry has as yet been traced, and this, as might have been 
expected, was at York. The work of York founders extends 
all over Cumberland and almost to the Border, and their only 
rivals were the Nottingham men, and more rarely those of 
Leicester. We have, moreover, a longer list of names of 
founders 1 than from any other city except London, chiefly 
derived from the list of freedmen published by the Surtees 
Society.'- The)- show the great and continued importance of 
this foundry from the thirteenth century onwards. Unfortu- 
nately few of these names have been found on bells. John de 
Kirkham (1371) occurs in Cumberland, 3 John Potter (1360- 
1380) in York city itself, and John de Copgrave, whose date 
is uncertain, at Scawton in the North Riding (cf. p. 303). The 
first-named also cast bells for York Minster with John de 
Stafford in 1371. 4 

A more famous name is that of Richard Tunnoc, whose 
works may indeed have perished, but who has immortalised 
himself by his magnificent gift to the minster of one of the 
many beautiful fourteenth-century windows which adorn its nave. 
Known as the " Bell-founder's window," it consists of three main 
lights, in two of which the process of bell-casting is picturesquely 
represented (see Frontispiece, and p. 45), while in the middle one 
the founder himself receives the benediction of the archbishop, 
his name being inscribed on a scroll. Richard Tunnoc was 
something of a personage, being M.P. for the city in 1327 ; he 
died in 1330. The other York founders of the mediaeval period 
are at present still mere names ; but their anonymous works 
may still hang in many a neighbouring tower or turret. 5 

5. The Eastern Counties 

Having now almost made the circuit of England we come 
by way of Lincolnshire to East Anglia. In the former county 

1 See generally Benson in Rep. Yorks. Philos. Soc, 1898, and Assoc. 
An/iit. Socs. Reports, xxvii. p. 623 ff. ; Poppleton in Yorks. Arch. Journ., 
xviii. p. 88 ff. ; Vict. County Hist, of Yorks., ii. p. 449 ff. 

- Vols. 96 and 102 (1896 and 1899). 

3 Cumb. and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., ix. p. 494. 

4 Fabric Rolls of York Minster, Surtees Soc, 35, p. 10. 

5 For the names of these founders, see list in Appendix. 


there are a few odd names, such as William Dudley at Well, 
and Robert Merstoun in the neighbourhood of Alford, but of 
these we know nothing". The magnificent bells of 1423 at 
South Somercotes and those of Somersby (1431), 1 with a 
dozen or so more (one in Notts, and one in Yorkshire), must 
have been cast in the county, but there is no definite centre 
to which we can assign them. Lincolnshire was almost 
wholly dependent on Nottingham in the fifteenth century and 

We pass on therefore to Norfolk, making our first pause at 
King's Lynn, where the records go back as far as anywhere in 
England. Master John, whose name occurs in 1299, has been 
identified with Magister Johannes Riston, whose name occurs 
on a bell at Bexwell, Norfolk, and Thomas Bellyetere (1333) 
with Thomas de Lenne, whose name is found at Trunch and 
Wood Rising in that county. Between these two is " Johannes 
Godynge de Lenne," found at Worlington, Suffolk. Another 
John occurs at West Somerton, and an Edmund at Sail, the 
latter mentioned in documents of 1353. Another Edmund 
and Thomas, " bellyeteres," occur in the fifteenth century. A 
founder named Derby, who used the Royal Head stamps (p. 194), 
and who occurs at Chippenham, Cambs., and New Houghton, 
Norfolk, was probably the successor of the first Edmund, about 
1 360-1 380; his bells are all found more or less in this 

The foundry at Norwich begins at a later date, but rapidly 
became the most important in East Anglia, and second to none 
in the country. The fact that over 150 bells from this foundry 
still remain in Norfolk alone testifies sufficiently to its great 
reputation. The earliest known representative is William de 
Norwyco, who was working in the fourteenth century (about 
1360), and has left his name on bells at Hellesdon, Norfolk, 
and Conington, Cambridgeshire. Next comes Thomas Potter, 
" brasyer," who became a freeman in 1404. He introduces 
inscriptions in " mixed Gothic," and uses a very elaborate 
alphabet (as at Great Plumstead, Norfolk), the letters filled in 
with heads and grotesques (289). His trade-mark is a three- 
legged pot. At St. John Sepulchre, Norwich, we find this 
apostrophe to himself — 

1 >as Tv (Tampanas Fomtasti, r^ottcre Thomas. 

Shortly after comes Richard Baxter (1416-1424;, whose name 
occurs at Ketteringham (Norf.) and who introduced the richly- 

1 North, C/i. Fells of Lines., p. 79 ff. ; see also p. 2S4. 



ornamented capitals (206) which were destined to become 
so well known in the hands of his successors the Brasyers, 
and after the Reformation in other foundries, particularly that 
of Leicester. The Brasyer dynasty extends over two genera- 
tions, in the persons of Richard Brasyer I. (1424-1482) and 
Richard II. (1478-15 13), during which time the foundry was 
at the height of its prosperity. Even at this day Norfolk is 

Lettering used by the Brasyers of Norwich (1424-1513) 

full of their beautiful bells, and there are many also in Suffolk ; 
one or two in Essex and Cambridgeshire, and one, strange to 
say, at Ford Abbe}-, Dorset. Each is inscribed with an appro- 
priate leonine hexameter, 1 the caesura marked by a lion's head 
as stop, and bears on the crown the foundry shield (207), a 
crown between three bells, on a " sprigged " or ermine field. 

1 Examples of these are given in Chap. xii. 



Of the five bells in Norwich cathedral tower, four are of this type, 
and in the church towers of the city itself there are many 
others. After the second Richard's death the foundry appears 
to have decayed, and the few bells which can be assigned to his 
successor William Barker (1 530-1538) are of inferior style, with 
imperfect inscriptions. 

There also appears to have been a foundry somewhere to 
the north-east of Norwich about 1400, as there is a group of 
bells of about this date confined to that part of the county 
inscribed in large ornamented Gothic capitals. Another more 
widely-spread group is found in Norfolk and Suffolk, and must 
have been cast at Norwich about the end of the fourteenth 
century; the stamps are those formely used by William le 
Belyetere of Canterbury (p. 193). l 

Our tale of mediaeval foundries 
is brought to its close with an ac- 
count of that which flourished at 
Bury St. Edmund's in the fifteenth 
century and later. Its history has 
not yet been fully elucidated, but 
Mr V. B. Redstone's examination of 
various Bury wills, and the publica- 
tion of some early Churchwardens' 
Accounts at Cambridge have helped 
to throw light on the subject. In 
particular, the foundry shield (305) 
has always been one of the 
stumbling-blocks of the campanist, 
for though its symbolical devices 
are easy of explanation the initials 
H. S. which it bears have always 
remained a mystery. As this shield 

occurs on all Bury bells, even those cast by founders whose 
names are known, the initials must indicate its original owner, 
who probably lived about 1400-1430. The earliest bell from 
this foundry, the tenor at Coton, Cambridgeshire, is the only 
one with an inscription in capitals throughout, and has no 
foundry shield. It must therefore be by a predecessor of H.S. 
The inscription it bears is peculiar to the Bury foundry : — 

uir^GO (©Gi^onfi©^ dug nos ^d i^eGRfi BGfisp. 

Various names of founders between 1355 and 1475 have 
been unearthed by Mr Redstone,- but the first with which we 

1 See L'Estrange, Ch. Bells of Norjolk, p. 80 ft". 

- See Deedes and Walters, Ch. Bells of Essex, p. 50. 

Trade-mark of the Brasyers 
of Norwich 



need here be concerned is Reignold Church (1470- 1498). The 
majority of the Bury bells still existing in the four eastern 
counties are probably the work of this man or of his son 
Thomas (1498- 1527), whose name occurs in connection with 
work done at Cambridge, Redenhall (Norf.), and elsewhere. 
These bells, nearly a hundred in number, have besides the foundry 
shield a richly-designed initial cross (208), a square or oblong stop 
(208), and an inscription in " mixed Gothic," usually an invoca- 
tion to St. Mary or St. Anne. The Bury founders show a strong 
preference for female saints, and a curious neglect of their own 
patron St. Edmund. 

The last of the pre-Reformation founders was Roger Reve, 
whose name Dr Raven recovered from a bond between that 
individual and the authorities of Debden in Essex, for which 

Bury cross 

Bury stop 

church he cast a bell in 1533. He is there described as a 
" clothear," exemplifying the tendency of bell-founders to com- 
bine other trades with their own. John Danyell of London 
(p. 178) was also a vintner. Roger Reve made some changes 
in the style of the lettering of the Bury bells, and not only 
drops the use of initial capitals, but also introduces a new 
initial cross of a more simple type, and a double version of the 
usual square stop. His bells, one of which is here illustrated 
(209), still bear the old bell-and-gun shield of H.S. 

Besides the mediaeval bells of English make which we have 
discussed, a few foreign bells have found their way into England, 
mostly from the Low Countries, which have always had a great 
reputation for excellence in bell-founding. They are remarkably 
rare at all periods, especially when compared with the number 

Bell by Roger Reve of Burv St. Edmunds 

From M i i / ■ 


21 I 

that found their way into Scotland, but the latter country always 
had closer relations with the Continent. In 1483 a law was 
passed prohibiting the importation of foreign bells into England, 
but as the words of the statute are " belles except haukes bells," 
it is not likely that any but small bells arc intended. 1 Whether 
or no it applied to church bells, the fact remains that we have only 
half-a-dozen foreign bells remaining between that date and the 
middle of the sixteenth century ; while another half-dozen or so 
are of earlier date, and there are also two or three of the seven- 
teenth century, or later. As foreign bells are always dated, we can 
treat these bells in exact chronological order, and their habitat 
and place of origin will be found noted in the following list : — 

1369. Duncton, Sussex 
1435. Leeds Castle, Kent 
144 1. Whitton, Suffolk 

From The Hague, Holland. 


Flemish, probably by Jan Van 

Flemish. By Jan Van Venlo. 
Flemish. See Proc. Soc. Ant. 

Newc, iii. p. 10 1. 
Flemish. By Arent Van Won 

{Arch. Camb>\, 6th Ser., viii. 

p. 149). 
1523. St. Crux, York (now at Bishopthorpej Flemish. See Ass. Arch. Soc. 

Rep., \xvi. p. 624, fig. 2. 
1530. Bromeswell, Suffolk 

1447. Baschurch, Shropshire 

1458. All Hallows Staining, London 

1489. Eglingham, Northumberland 

15 18. Nicholaston, Glamorganshire 

Flemish. By Cornelius Wag- 
hevens of Mechlin. 

By Pierre Baude. 

Flemish. By Peter Van den 

Flemish. By Peter Van den 
Seamer by Scarborough, Yorkshire - French. 

„ Woking, Surrey (now at R.C. church 
1 535- Whalley, Lancashire - 

1548. Peterhouse, Cambridge 

1574. British Museum (213) - 

1577. Hendon, Middlesex (in 

1663. Tottenham, Middlesex 

1670. Frindsbury, Kent 
N.o. Millwood, N. Lancashire 

a modern 

Flemish. By Marc le Ser. See 
Proc Soc. Antios., xv. p. 324. 

Italian. By Giovanni Meloof 

By I. H. See Robinson, Hist. 
of Tottenham^ ii. p. 13. 

Gerritt Schimmel of Deventer. 

Italian. By Terzo Rafanelli 

of Pistoia. See Barrow 

Nat. Field Club Trans., xvii. 

pp. 55, 78. 

N.D. Portsmouth fire-bell at pnrish church) Italian. By Matthias Solano, 

c. 1700. 
1801. Leavenheath, Suffolk - By Gerhard Horner of Stock- 


1 Statutes of the Realm, ii. p. 495 (cf. p. 397). Raven, Cambs., p. 48, 
appears to accept the more general application. But in any case the statute 
seems to have been repealed by Henry VII. 


To this list must be added a bell by Jan Van Venlo formerly 
at Vowchurch, Herefordshire, now recast, and a small hand- 
bell belonging' to the corporation of Rye, Sussex, by P. Van den 
Ghein. There is a group of early bells at Bristol Cathedral ; 
Sarnesfield, Herefordshire ; West Thorney, Sussex ; and formerly 
Burwarton, Salop, which may be of foreign origin, though they 
bear neither date, nor founder's name, nor any additional orna- 
mentation. But the peculiar double-lined florid capitals, with the 
cross of similar type, resemble those found on early continental 
bells, as at Fontenailles, Normandy, and in the Bargello Museum 
at Florence (see p. 27), and have little in common with English 
Gothic lettering. These bells may probably be dated about 1 300. 

Of the bells mentioned in the above list it will be seen that 
only two are certainly of French origin. The Leeds Castle bell 1 
has no founder's name, in fact only the date ; it bears three medal- 
lions representing the Virgin and Child, the Crucifixion, and St 
Michael and the Dragon. The Baschurch bell 2 is inscribed — 

+ /IBaria int jaer cms beeren m cccc enfce £lv>ij ian 
van venloe 

and is beautifully ornamented with foliated patterns. 

The London example is now preserved at the Grocers' 
Hall, the bells having been removed from the tower of All 
Hallows, which still stands. The inscription is : — 

flDarttne es meinen name mnn gdant sep Qot beqname 

" Martin is my name, may my sound be pleasant to God." 

That at Eglingham is probably by the same founder. The 
Bromeswell bell is very richly ornamented with four medallions 
with scriptural subjects and decorative borders. 3 The Waghevens 
family were well-known masters of the art in the early part of 
the sixteenth century. 4 Similar medallions are to be found on 
the later bell at Tottenham, which is a good specimen of Flemish 
work of that period ; it was taken at the siege of Quebec. The 
Italian bell which Mr St. Clair Baddeley presented to a new 
church at Hendon 5 has an interesting inscription often found 
on foreign bells, but seldom on English : — 



1 Stahlschmidt, Ch. Bells of Kent, frontisp. 

2 Shropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser., vii. p. 1, pi. 20. 

3 See Raven, Bells of Suffolk, p. 75. 

4 See Schryver, Quclques ancienncs Cloches d' 'Eglise, Bruxelles, 1903. 

5 Notes and Queries, 9th Ser., x. p. 406 (24th May 1902). 

6 For an example recorded at Kenilworth, see Tilley and Walters, Ch. 
Bells of Wariu., p. 177. 


Flemish bell by Marc le Ser, 1574 (British Museum 

From Mears Sf Stainbank 
Bell by R. Mot, formerly at Staplehurst, Kent 


I. The South and West oe England 

FOR a short time after the Reformation the bell-trade almost 
dwindled away ; the country was full of second-hand bells 
confiscated at the Dissolution of 1538 (see Chap. XVI.). But 
bells became as popular as ever, and remained so until the 
Civil War. After the Restoration when scientific ringing came 
in and Ringing Societies were formed, rings of large bells, at 
first of five, then of six, and later of eight {cf. p. 81), were erected. 
We shall see, therefore, that the activity of the foundries, which 
was checked at the Reformation, revived generally under Queen 
Elizabeth, and flourished everywhere, until again checked by 
the Civil War. Between 1642 and 1650 little was done in any 
part of the country. The period from 1660 to 1750 may be 
described as the heyday of English bell-founding. 

The post-Reformation foundries are not easy to treat of 
categorically, owing to their great number, wide distribution, 
and varying duration. It is, for instance, impossible to treat 
under the heading " seventeenth century " of a foundry which 
lasted from about 1650 to 1750; and equally unsatisfactory to 
discuss it under the heading of each century. Others again 
have lasted almost without a break for two hundred years or 
more. It will perhaps be the simplest and most satisfactory 
arrangement to follow that adopted for the mediaeval foundries, 
and take the counties in a rough geographical order, beginning 
with London. 


As in other foundries, there is in London a distinct break 
about the period of the Reformation ; in this case lasting about 
thirty years. Between 1550 and 1575 we have a few isolated 
names, of no great importance, and others during the fifteen 
years following, including the notorious Laurence Wright, who 
cast various bells for London churches which had to be almost 



immediately recast, as we may learn from a perusal of the 
various parish accounts. 

The year 1567, however, saw the foundation of the great 
foundry in Whitechapel, which has lasted continuously, almost 
on the identical site, down to the present day, and is now 
probably the oldest established firm in England. Between 
1567 and 1575 it was in the hands of an unknown man, probably 
Robert Doddes, whose stamps were afterwards used by Robert 
Mot, the owner of the foundry from 1575 to 1604. This Mot, 
whose name or foundry stamp occurs on nearly all of his bells, 
was a very successful founder, and there is hardly a London 
city parish whose accounts do not include some payment to him 

for casting bells at this 
time. Of his work 
about fifty-four ex- 
amples remain, mostly 
inscribed in black-letter 

IRobertus mot me 

fecit with the date, 
and various ornamental 
stops (of which Mot had 
an extensive supply) be- 
tween the words. His 
foundry stamp (216) 
is circular, with three 
bells and the initials 
R. M. within a wreath. 
Among his finest bells 
are two at Westminster 
Abbey, dated respec- 
tively 1583 and 1598, 
with the name of the 
dean, Gabriel Good- 
man. Several others still remain in London, at St. Andrew 
Undershaft and elsewhere, and many more in Essex and Kent. 
The one here illustrated (213) was formerly at Staplehurst, Kent. 
Mot was succeeded by Joseph Carter, who came from 
Reading (p. 221), but both he and his son William had brief 
reigns, and in 161 6 we find the foundry in the ownership of 
Thomas Bartlet (161 6-1 631), who was succeeded by his son 
Anthony (1640- 167 5), and then by James (1675- 1700). Thomas' 
bells are rare, many having doubtless perished in the Great 
Fire, but there is a fine one at the Charterhouse, his latest 
production. The earlier ones bear his private mark, a trefoil 
with his initials, which he uses as foreman to Carter on some of 

Trade-mark of Robert Mot 


the latter 's bells. At his death in 1631 his son was still quite a 
child, and for ten years John Clifton, several of whose bells 
remain in Essex, 1 managed the foundry. Bells by Anthony and 
James Bartlet are fairly numerous, but chiefly confined to the 
City, where they did a brisk trade in supplying the new Wren 
churches. The Bartlets' bells are mostly plain and devoid of 
ornament, except their trade-mark, an adaptation of Mot's. 

In 1700 the dynasty expired with the death of James, and 
the foundry passed to Richard Phelps, a native of Avebury in 
Wiltshire. He was a good and successful founder, and enjoyed 
a prosperous career of nearly forty years. Several of the big 
rings in London churches, as at St. Magnus, All Hallows, 
Lombard Street, and St .Michael, Cornhill, are his work, as is 
also the great hour-bell of St. Paul's Cathedral. The latter 
weighs over five tons, and has a curious history, being the 
successor of the old Great Tom of Westminster, about which 
many traditions and legends have sprung up (see p. 99). 

Phelps' successor, Thomas Lester, was a less successful 
founder, and between 1738 and 1754 did comparatively little 
business. In the latter year, however, he took as his partner 
one Thomas Pack, and thenceforward things steadily improved. 
After Lester's death in 1769 William Chapman joined the firm, 
which now with the gradual disappearance or absorption of 
London and provincial foundries began to enjoy almost a 
monopoly. Between 1770 and 1780 Pack & Chapman cast 
many important rings of bells for London and provincial towns, 
such as Aylesbury and Shrewsbury. Pack died in 1780,- and 
Chapman shortly afterwards took as partner a young man 
named William Mears, who appears to have been a sort of 
protege of the firm. Chapman died in 1784 and Mears in 1789, 
and the latter's son Thomas then succeeded, and kept on the 
business till his death in 18 10. Four years previously he had 
taken into partnership his son Thomas, under whom the foundry 
was destined to reach the height of its prosperity between 18 10 
and 1843, the year of his death. The springing up of many 
new churches in London and other large towns, and the impetus 
given to change-ringing at this time were the chief causes 
of the demand for new rings of bells, and as the Whitechapel 
foundry now practically enjoyed a monopoly all over England, 
it is not surprising to find Mears' name in all part- of the 

1 There is also one at Christ Church, Victoria St., Westminster, the 
successor of a chapel erected in 1639. 

2 Chapman's name appears alone on a few bells of 1781, as at Otley, 
Yorks., and Durham Cathedral. 


Three hundred years or so had seen great changes in the 
history of English bell-founding. The smaller founders both 
in London and the provinces had practically all died out by 
the middle of the eighteenth century, and after that the 
Londoners' only serious rivals were the Rudhalls of Gloucester. 
Moreover a great change is seen in the character of the in- 
scriptions and the style of lettering employed. About 1760 
Lester & Pack introduced a new style of lettering in place of 
the " old-faced " type, corresponding more to the modern print- 
ing types of capitals, and presumably regarded by them as being 
thoroughly " up-to-date." This lettering, in two sizes, was 
used down to 1837, when the larger capitals were discarded, 
and the smaller alphabet remained in use at Whitechapel down 
to the end of the century. In the matter of ornamentation the 
Whitechapel men were very austere, seldom venturing beyond 
a band of alternating loops and lozenges which serves to fill 
in vacant spaces. Of their poetical performances we shall 
speak elsewhere (p. 345) ; these are characteristic of Pack, 
Chapman, and the elder Thomas Mears (who often makes 
use of rhymes composed by Mr Wilding, a Shropshire school- 
master). 1 The younger Thomas seldom attempts more than 
his name and those of churchwardens. 

His successors Charles and George Mears (1844- 1865) were 
much influenced by the Gothic revival of the time, and often 
break out into fancy Gothic lettering, both capitals and smalls. 
Some of their bells are inscribed quite in a mediaeval style, 
with names of saints ; but this may be due to the Tractarian 
incumbents for whose churches they were cast. In 1865 the 
business, by its passing into the hands of Mr Robert Stainbank, 
acquired the title it has ever since enjoyed of " Mears & 
Stainbank," although George Mears died in 1865 and Stainbank 
in 1883. It is now managed by Mr A. Hughes. Specimens of 
their work have already been illustrated (43, 101). 

There were many other intermittent bell-foundries in London 
during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the principal 
rivals of Whitechapel were the firm of John & Christopher 
Hodson (165 3- 1 693), whose foundry was probably in the parish 
of All Hallows, London Wall, with a branch establishment at 
St. Mary Cray in Kent. Many of their bells still exist in that 
county and elsewhere. They are usually remarkable for their 
long inscriptions, running into two or even three lines, with 
ornamental stops between the words. To an earlier period 
belongs William Land of Houndsditch (16 13- 1637), who came 
from Suffolk (see p. 236). His bells are not very numerous, but 
1 See p. 344 for specimens, 


they are not the only memorials we have of him, for he made a 
mortar of bell-metal which is now in the British Museum (183J. 

Towards the end of the century William and Philip Wight- 
man (1680- 1 702) were founding on Windmill Hill, Clerkenwell, 
and did much good work in London and the home counties. 
Some finely-ornamented bells by William may be seen at St. 
Clement Danes and St. James, Piccadilly. Philip recast Great 
Tom of Westminster (99) when it was removed to St. Paul's in 
1698. The Wightmans were succeeded by Matthew Bagley 
(1693-17 16), who came from Chacomb in Northants (see below, 
p. 240), and met with a violent death in a gun-founding explosion 
in 1 7 16. His son, James Bagley, followed for two or three years. 

In the eighteenth century an important foundry was started 
in Shoe Lane, Holborn, by Samuel Knight, who left a declining 
business at Reading (p. 222) in 1709, and met with much greater 
success in a metropolitan career. He had the distinction of 
casting the rings at St. Saviour, Southwark ; St. Margaret, 
Westminster ; and St. Sepulchre, Holborn. He was succeeded 
in 1738 by Robert Catlin, also an admirable founder, who died 
in 175 1. His successor, Thomas Swain, migrated to Longford 
on the borders of Bucks, and his bells are mostly found 'in that 

Of the other eighteenth-century founders, the only one who 
need be mentioned is Thomas Janaway of Chelsea, whose date 
is 1 762- 1788. He seems to have been a successful rival of the 
Wh'techapel men, and there are several complete rings by him 
in Middlesex and Surrey. He is even found in Scotland. 

Lastly, there is the Cripplegate foundry, administered by 
the firm of Warner, who have been casting bells since about 
1850, their works being now in Spitalfields. They have long 
had a great reputation, especially in Essex, Yorkshire, and 
the southern counties, and their work is full}- equal to that 
of the other great firms, if unambitious in appearance. A 
specimen has already been illustrated (31). The foundry was 
originally started about 1780 by " Old John Warner," in Fleet 
Street, who cast bells for some years, 1 but between 18 10 and 
1850 this branch of the business entirely lapsed. 

Surrey and Kent 

The southern side of the Metropolis can boast of no foundries 
before the end of the nineteenth century, but at Chertsey in 
Surrey, there was a flourishing one in the seventeenth century, 

1 See Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 114. 


the tale of which has been told by Stahlschmidt. 1 About 1620, 
Bryan Eldridge removed his father's business from Wokingham 
(see p. 222) to Chertsey, and remained at work there till 1640, 
the year of his death. His son Bryan carried it on till 1661, 
and after his death his brother William held it for over fifty 
years, dying in 17 16. His son and successor William migrated 
to West Drayton in Middlesex, and seems to have done little 
or no bell-founding. 

The county of Kent possessed two important local foundries 
in the seventeenth century, both oddly enough in obscure 
villages. John and Henry Wilner cast bells at Borden near 
Sittingbourne between 161 8 and 1644, which are seldom found 
outside the county, but there are three or four over the Thames 
in Essex, and one or two in Sussex. They present no remark- 
able features beyond the fiat letters which these founders, like 
many others of the time, were wont to use. Of longer duration 
and greater importance was the foundry at Ulcombe, between 
Maidstone and Ashford. It was managed successively by 
Thomas Hatch (1585-1599), Joseph (1602-1639), and William 
(1640- 1 664). Their bells are numerous in Kentish steeples, 
and also occur in Sussex. They seldom adventure more than 
their names, and the earlier bells have the inscription in black- 
letter. At Canterbury we have John Palmer (1638- 1649), and 
Thomas (1 641 -1676), founders whose clientele was purely local. 

Sussex and Hants 

Sussex and Hants foundries are of little importance. In 
the latter part of the sixteenth century and first half of the 
seventeenth, much of the work in these parts was done by 
itinerant founders, with whom we also meet in Kent and Surrey. 
Little is known of them, but they can sometimes be traced to 
a temporary home in one or another town. In South Hants 
and Dorset we find bells by Anthony Bond (161 5-1636) ; in 
Hants and Sussex, bells by John Cole ( 1 573-1 59 2 )- Edmund 
and Thomas Giles were at Lewes between 1595 and 1628; 
Giles Reve in Kent, 15 84- 1592 ; Thomas Wakefield at Chichester, 
1610-1628 ; and Roger Tapsel at West Tarring near Worthing, 
1600- 1633. Their bells are usually roughly cast, with simple 
inscriptions in ill-formed letters, as for instance at Winchester 
St. John : 



1 Surrey Bells, p. 109. 


Many bells in Hants between 1571 and 1624 bear the initials 
of an unknown R. B., and others between 1616 and 1652 those 
of I. H. The latter has been conjectured to be John Higden, 
foreman to Joseph Carter of Reading {infra) ; his inscriptions 
are usually in black-letter, and he is fond of reproducing 
mediaeval stamps, such as the Wokingham R. L. shield, which 
he may have got from Carter. Both men were probably resident 
at Winchester or Southampton. In later times the only founder 
to be noted is Joshua Kipling, of Portsmouth (i737 -I 745)> wno 
cast a ring for Waterford Cathedral. 1 


Berkshire on the other hand contained two towns with bell- 
founding traditions maintained from an earlier period : Reading 
and Wokingham. 2 The county town must have the precedence, 
and it should be noted that here there was absolutely no break 
during the troublous times of the Reformation, and not only so, 
but there were actually two rival foundries at work nearly all 
through the sixteenth century. John Sanders, of whom we have 
already spoken (p. 195) died in 1558-9, and in the next twenty- 
years we have the names of Vincent Goroway and William 
Welles. Little, however, is known of them, but Mr A. H. Cocks' 5 
attributes to the latter some bells in Bucks with inscriptions of 
a quasi-mediaeval type, one at Radclive bearing the Royal 
Head stamps and the medallion of William Dawe (p. 188). In 
1578 came Joseph Carter, who enjoyed a very successful career 
for twenty-five years, and then migrated to London (p. 216). 
He recast bells in his own town, and there are forty or fifty in 
Berks, Bucks, Oxon, and Hants. He used a great variety of 
lettering and ornaments, the latter including a crown with the 
initials E.R. or I.R. for the reigning sovereign, the shield of 
Roger Landen (p. 194), and the foundry-mark of John Sanders. 
He was succeeded by his son-in-law William Yare, who died in 
1616 ; his bells hardly number more than a dozen. With him 
this foundry came to a final end. 

The rival business belonged to the Knight family, the first 
of whom, William I. (c. 1530), belongs to the mediaeval period. 
In 1567, another William, probably his son, cast a bell for 
St Lawrence, Reading, and other bells of his are known, dated 
1578-1586. He died in 1586. His inscriptions are usually in 
rough black-letter, and sometimes of a distinctly mediaeval 

1 Notes and Queries, 4th Ser. ix., p. 278. 

2 See Vict. County Hist. Berks., ii. p. 418 ff. 
:: Bucks, p. 76. 



type. His son, Henry I., succeeded him, and cast about ninety 
bells down to 1622, the year of his death, mostly in clumsy 
Roman capitals. Next comes Ellis I., under whom the business 
greatly increased, owing doubtless to the cessation of the rival 
firm. He died about 1658, and then we have a second Henry, 
down to 1672. A second Ellis and a third Henry carried on 
the foundry, now fallen on evil times, down to 1684. Nor did 
it fare much better under the next owner, Samuel Knight, and 
he finally left Reading in 17 10 and set up in London, where, as 
already noted, a better future awaited him. 

The foundry at Wokingham was revived after an interval 
of seventy years by Thomas Eldridge, two bells by whom, dated 
1565, were formerly at Bray and Winkfield. Mr Cocks has 
detected another, undated, at Ouainton in Bucks. He was 
succeeded by Richard Eldridge (1592- 1624) who had a branch 
establishment at Horsham. 1 His successor, Bryan, removed the 
foundry entirely to Chertsey, and bell-founding in Berks became 
a thing of the past. 

Wilts, and Dorset 

In Wiltshire the chief centre of bell-founding was at Salis- 
bury, where the mediaeval foundry was revived by John Wallis 
in 1578. He had a long and prosperous career, and of his pious 
inscriptions we shall speak elsewhere (p. 335). He was followed 
by John Danton (1624- 1640), whose bells are inscribed with 
similar devout expressions. From 1654 to 1676 we hear of 
Francis Foster, and in 1671-1675 of Richard Florey, but their 
bells are rare. During part of this time the foundry appears to 
have been worked by the brothers Roger and William Purdue, 
who came from Bristol ; the latter was at Salisbury between 1655 
and 1664. In 1680 began a new dynasty of Tosiers. Clement 
from 1680-17 17, William from 17 17- 1723, and John from 1684- 
1723. After the latter date the foundry appears to have been 
closed, probably on account of the successful rivalrv of the 

At Warminster John Lott was founding between 1624 and 
1 69 1, 2 or more probably two of the name, as the period covered 
is such a length)' one ; the bells from this foundry resemble 
those of the earlier Purdues (p. 228), with their flat clumsy 
capitals. A few bells of neat appearance were sent out by 
James Burrough of Devizes between 1738 and 1755. 

At Aldbourne on the north-east border of the count)-, a 

1 See Rice in Sussex Arch. Colhis., xxxi., p. 81 fif. 

2 See Daniell, Hist, of Warminster^ p. 159. 


From Messrs. Tuv/of 

Bell by R. Austen (Butleigh, Somerset) 


remote but large village in a hollow of the chalk downs, an im- 
portant foundry flourished, in spite of the difficulties of carriage, 
from 1696 to 1825. Its first owners were the family of Cor, 
of whom William and Robert worked in partnership from 1696 
to 1 7 19 and then Robert alone till 1742. We also hear of 
Oliver Cor (1725-1727), and finally of John (1728-1750). They 
were men of originality, with artistic proclivities, and were fond 
of decorating their bells with ornamental borders, figures of 
cherubs and Cupids, and other devices, apparently reproduced 
from old brass ornaments (311). They also used large fancy 
capitals as initials to the words, but their inscriptions are brief and 
otherwise featureless. After the unimportant reign of Edward 
Read ( 1 75 1 - 1 757), the foundry passed to Robert Wells, who 
held it from 1764- 1799, and was joined by his son James in 1781. 
James carried it on alone from 1799- 1825, when it was bought 
up, like several others, by Mears of Whitechapel, having fallen 
on evil times. Previously, however, it had been remarkably 
prosperous, and the Wells' bells are common in the neighbour- 
hood and even further afield. They cast large rings for Newbury, 
St. John, Deritend, Birmingham, and other places. Their in- 
scriptions are only remarkable for their position on the outer 
rims of the bells, and even in one or two cases inside ! 

Little bell-founding appears to have been done in Dorset 
at any time ; but there were founders named Poole at Yetminster 
in the latter part of the sixteenth century, and at Sherborne 
between 1640 and 1670 one Robert Austen, who cast the fire-bell 
therewith its well-known inscription (p. 168). His bells, marked 
by his initials, are now chiefly to be found in Somerset ; they are 
distinguished by a fondness for floral and scroll ornaments of 
an elaborate and original form (223). 

Devon and Cornwall 

Continuing westward, in Devonshire we renew acquaintance 
with another great foundry at Exeter, and there were several 
smaller ones of short duration in various towns and villages of 
the count)'. The Exeter foundry was first in the hands of 
Thomas and John Byrdan (1 601 -1624) of whom little is known, 
and then passed to the family of Penningtons, whose identities 
are difficult to disentangle, and are further complicated by their 
frequent migrations in Devon and Cornwall. During the greater 
part of the seventeenth century, from 1610 onwards, innumerable 
bells occur in Devonshire with the initials T. P. or I. P,, but as 
these initials continue down till 1720 and 1748 respectively, it 
is uncertain how many Thomases and how many Johns there 


may have been. Bernard Pennington seems to have had a 
branch establishment at Bodmin about 1687, and in the middle 
of the eighteenth century a Fitzanthony Pennington ( 1 756-1768) 
had one at Lezant in Cornwall, and another at Stoke Climsland 
in that county. Between 1680 and 1799 the initials C. P. 
occur on their bells, denoting three successive Christophers, 
and the last representative was a John (1766- 18 19). We also 
hear of F. Pennington (1 656-1 671) and William (1698- 1726). 
Between 1761 and 1781 they call themselves " Pennington 
& Co." 

The Bilbies of Chewstoke, Somerset (see p.227), had a branch 
establishment at Cullompton in the eighteenth century, which 
lasted down to 1813. It was then taken on by William and 
C. Pannell (1820- 185 5), who subsequently migrated to Exeter, 
following the Pennington dynasty there. We also hear of 
Mordecai Cockey of Totnes (1666-1701); J. Stadler of Chulm- 
leigh (1693-17 1 5) ; Ambrose Gooding of Plymouth (17 14-1748) ; 
and W. B. Hambling of Blackawton (1823-1852). John Taylor 
of Oxford set up a branch at Buckland Brewer from 1825-1835. 
In Cornwall the only foundry worth recording besides that of 
the Penningtons is that of J. Harvey & Co. at Hayle (1786- 1832), 
known as " The Copper Foundry." 


Somerset is a county which has always been famous for its 
bells, and the number of its foundries eclipses that of any other 
county except Yorkshire. But none of them were very long- 
lived. We have already mentioned Roger Semson, who almost 
crosses the border-line of the mediaeval period, and may there- 
fore pass on to the seventeenth century. But even before this 
begins we meet with the earliest productions of George Purdue 
of Taunton, the ancestor of a long line of founders with 
migratory instincts. His earliest bell is at Penselwood near 
Frome (1584); his latest is dated 1633. In 1601 the name of 
Roger appears, and in 1604 that °f William, but the distribution 
of their bells renders it probable that they soon removed to 
Bristol, under which heading we must deal with them later. 
Meanwhile Robert Wiseman (1 592-1619) was at work at 
Montacute near Yeovil ; but not much further activity was 
shewn in the county until late in the century. Thomas Purdue, 
the last representative of that family, returned to their old 
county about 1656, and set up a foundry at Closworth on the 
Dorset border, which he kept on for over forty years. He died 
in 171 1, and on his tomb at Closworth are the words — 


Here lies the bell-founder, honest and true, 
Until the resurrection — named Purdue. 

After him came in rapid succession William Knight ( 1 704- 1 7 56), 
William Elery (1732-1757), Thomas Roskelly (1750- 1768), and 
James Smith (1762- 1767), none of them in any way remarkable. 
Knight puts on his bells the initials W.K.B.F. (bell founder), 
which earlier writers explained as ' William Knight, Blandford 
Forum,' but he certainly had no connection with that place. 

At Frome we find William Cockey between 1693 and 175 1 
and Edmund between 1823 and 1840; at Wellington Thomas 
Wroth between 1691 and 1750 (perhaps two of the name); and 
at Bridgwater the firm of Bayley & Street between 1743 and 
1773; all of them founders who seem to have enjoyed a good 
local reputation in their day. The last-named foundry under 
Messrs Pyke, Davis, Kingston, & Gary, lasted down to about 

In 1698 a foundry was established in the village of Chew- 
stoke under the Mendips by ' ould Edward Bilbie,' as he styles 
himself, and lasted for over a hundred years. A branch estab- 
lishment, as noted above, was soon opened at Cullompton, but 
probably was not regularly worked till the end of the century. 
Edward Bilbie's career ended in 1723, but as early as 17 19 we 
meet with the name of Thomas, who probably died in 1760; a 
younger Thomas joined him in 1754, and is last heard of in 
1790. The latest owners of this foundry were Abraham Bilbie 
(1768-1773), William (1775-1790), and James (1791-1814). Their 
bells are very numerous in Somerset, where they kept the Rud- 
halls out almost entirely, and fairly so in the adjoining counties. 
Their inscriptions are usually lengthy and often amusing ; 
Edward Bilbie in particular was very proud of his own skill, but 
was a better workman (if we may believe his own testimony) 
than poet or scholar. Specimens of his homely doggerel jibes at 
his fellow-craftsmen are given in Chapter XV. 

Gloucester, Monmouth, and Hereford 

The city of Bristol, partly in Somerset and partly in 
Gloucester, next claims our attention. The mediaeval foundry 
died out about the middle of the sixteenth century, and not 
until the reign of James I., when Roger and William Purdue 
came from Taunton, do we hear of any more bell-founding here. 
Roger's date is 1601-1639, William's, 1604-1618; but some of 
their earlier bells may have been cast at Taunton. They were 
succeeded by another pair of the same names : William from 


1637 to 1680, and Roger from 1649 to 1688. The two always 
worked in partnership, and their bells bear their joint initials, 
with a stamp of a bell between. They discarded the large flat 
clumsy letters and brief inscriptions earlier favoured by the 
family, and their own inscriptions in a smaller and neater type, 
often run into two lines, with stops and ornamental borders. 
Their temporary migration to Salisbury has already been noted. 
William spent his last years in Ireland, and was buried in 
Limerick Cathedral, with an epitaph similar to that on his 
kinsman Thomas, already quoted. The last owner of the 
foundry bore the initials L.C., but his bells (1687- 1698) are few 
in number, and his name has not been ascertained. The foundry 
was revived here in the early part of the nineteenth century, 
under Westcott, and Jefferies and Price, and there is now a 
flourishing business carried on by the firm of Llewellins & 

In Monmouthshire there was a foundry at Chepstow carried 
on by Evan and William Evans between 1690 and 1765 ; they 
appear to have had a wide reputation, and their bells may 
be found as far away as Cartmel-in-Furness, Lanes. They also 
cast several large rings for Bristol churches. 

Herefordshire can only boast of two founders : John Finch 
of Hereford (1628- 1664), and Isaac Hadley of Leominster (1700- 
1703), who afterwards migrated to London. The work of the 
former is common in that county but seldom found outside. 

Returning to Gloucestershire, we find in the Cathedral city, 
also full of founding traditions, the only serious rival to the men 
of Bristol. Between 1580 and 1680 there are three names, or 
rather only two, as the I.B. who was founding between 1587 and 
1608 has not yet been identified. 1 Overlapping with him is 
Henry Farmer (1600-1622), chiefly remarkable for dating his bells 
with the day of the month. This habit was kept up by his 
successor John Palmer (1 621 -1640), and his son of the same 
name (1647-1676). Farmer's stamps, however, including a pretty 
fleur-de-lys stop and a very neat well-formed alphabet (252), 
went first to Walsall and then to Woodstock. 

In 1684, at Oddington in Gloucestershire, we first meet with a 
name destined to become perhaps the most famous in the annals 
of English bell founding, that of Abraham Rudhall, in this case 
oddly spelled " Riddall," a mistake soon corrected. Probably 
an offshoot of the old family of Rudhall of Rudhall, near Ross, 
which played its part in the Civil Wars, Abraham Rudhall was 
the first and the greatest of four or five generations bearing the 
name. His career extended over fifty years (down to 1735), 

1 See generally Trans. Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Soc, xxxiv. p. 109 ff. 


during which time he probably cast more large rings and a 
higher gross total of bells than an}- single founder on record. 
His son Abraham assisted him between 17 1 8 and 1735, and sur- 
vived him by a few months. His successors, Abel Rudhall 
(1736-1760), Thomas (1761-1783), Charles (17831785), and John 
(1783- 1 830), were not so uniformly active, but with the exception 
of the shortdived Charles, all contributed a goodly share of the 
work done by the foundry. In all they are said to have cast 
4,521 bells, of which some 700 were for their native county, and 
it is not too much to say that in a hundred years they effected 
a complete transformation of the contents of its towers. Not 
only so, but in the counties of Worcester, Hereford, Salop, 
Cheshire, and Lancashire, nearly all the principal rings are their 
work, and they had a complete monopoly over this part of the 
kingdom, utilising to the full the admirable facilities for water- 
carriage afforded by the River Severn. Some of their typical 
inscriptions are given in Chapter XV. 

Worcester and Warwick 1 

In the neighbouring count)' of Worcester, the cathedral city 
again kept up the reputation of mediaeval times, and Nicholas 
Grene, who died in 1541, was soon after succeeded by another 
of the family, John Greene, whose bells date about 1 595-1608. 
His son John followed him, and was casting between 1609 and 
1633. Yet a third John appears in 165 1, at Lugwardine in 
Herefordshire. The second of the name uses a shield with 
three bells and his initials as trade-mark, and his bells are 
noteworthy for the neatness of the lettering. 

In 1644 we have the first appearance (at Stockton, Worcs.) of 
John Martin, one of the most successful provincial founders of 
the seventeenth century. In fifty years he cast some eight)' 
bells now remaining in Worcestershire, and though hemmed in 
on the east and south by the activity of other founders, there 
are many of his bells in Salop, Hereford, and Warwick, and 
even further afield. He uses three different trade-marks, a heart- 
shaped shield of two sizes with one bell and his initials, or a 
shield with three bells which he borrowed from Atton of 
Buckingham, adding the initials. His bells are often richly 
ornamented with arabesques and other patterns. His typical 
inscription is 


1 See generally Arch. Jonrn., lxiii. p. 190, and Tilley and Walters, 67/, 
Bells of Warwick, p. 55 ff. 



He was married under the Commonwealth regime at St. 
Martin's, Worcester, in 1655, and died in 1697. His successor, 
William Huntbatch, had a short and somewhat inglorious career 
(1687- 1 694). 

In the eighteenth century there were foundries for a time at 
Evesham and Bromsgrove. Matthew Bagley of Chacomb (see 
p. 240) was at the former place from 1687 till 1690, when he died 
and was buried there. He was followed by William Clark and 
Michael Bushell (1701-1707), whose chief claim to distinction is 
their fondness for the chronogram type of inscription (see p. 
348). This occurs at Badsey, Worcs., and Hinton, Gloucs. 

The Bromsgrove foundry was longer lived and of more ex- 
tended reputation. From 
1703 to 1738 it was 
worked by Richard San- 
ders, whose bells are 
common in Worcester- 
shire, and even occur so 
far away as Kettering, 
Northants, and in Cheshire 
and Lancashire. He was 
followed by William 
Brooke (1738- 1750), whose 
remaining bells only num- 
ber some half-dozen. 
Sanders had two trade- 
marks, one with a bell 
and his initials, the other 
with a bell round which 
are the words RICHARD 
BELL (230). His inscrip- 
tions as a rule present no features of interest. 

In Warwickshire we find no traces of a foundry before the 
eighteenth century, except for one Geoffrey Giles (1 583-1 585), 
and a flying visit of Bryan Eldridge of Chertsey (p. 220) to 
Coventry in 1656- 165 8. About 1700 Joseph Smith set up a 
foundry in Chad Valley, Edgbaston, on the outskirts of 
Birmingham, and carried on a successful business for thirty- 
five years. He cast many rings of five or six bells for 
Warwickshire and Staffordshire, and is also found in other 
neighbouring counties. He was a bit of a poet, as may be 
seen by his bells at Alvechurch and Northfield in Worcester- 
shire (p. 340), and another at Madeley, Shropshire ; his letter- 
ing (231) is neat, and he was also fond of ornamenting 

Trade-mark of Richard Sanders 


2 3i 


2 3 


his bells with coins and arabesque or running borders of an 
effective type. 

In more recent times good work has been done in 
Birmingham by Messrs Blevvs (1852-1886), to whose business 
Mr. Charles Carr of Smethwick has succeeded. Messrs Barwell 
of Birmingham began to cast church bells about 1870, and enjoy 
an ever-growing reputation in the Midlands. 

Oxford, Bucks., Beds., and Herts. 

Turning now more to the south-eastern districts of the 
Midlands, we find in Oxfordshire three or four foundries of no 
very great importance. The longest lived was at Woodstock, 
whither James Keene came about 1626 from Bedford (see below), 
and was succeeded in 1654 by his son Richard. A specimen of 
James Keene's lettering is here illustrated (231). Richard Keene 
left Woodstock towards the end of his long career, in 1699, an< ^ 
spent his few remaining years at Royston, Herts. Both men 
did good work in Oxfordshire and the adjoining counties. Con- 
temporaneous with them was Edmund Neale of Burford (1635- 
1683) whose work is chiefly found in East Gloucestershire and 
North Wilts, the Keenes hemming him in on the east. In the 
eighteenth century Edward Hemins had a foundry at Bicester 
between 1728 and 1745, and Henry Bagley III. of Chacomb 
(see p. 240) was at Witney in 17 10 and again 1 730-1 741. In 
more modern times Oxford became the scene of the foundry 
of William and John Taylor, the ancestors of the great Lough- 
borough firm, from 1821 to 1854; and more recently Burford 
has once more been selected as the site of a foundry by Henry 
Bond & Sons, whose work is well spoken of in the neighbour- 

Buckinghamshire has had two foundries of some importance 
in their day, one being at Buckingham, where Mr. Cocks has 
found traces of George and John Appowell between 1552 and 
1578. 1 Their names do not appear on any bell, but Mr Cocks 
has found bells in the neighbourhood of that town which must 
belong to their period. These have inscriptions of the "puzzle" 
type (291), with jumbles of half-formed letters and other marks. 
They were followed by two founders of the name of Atton ; 
Bartholomew, the elder, learned his business with the Newcomes 
of Leicester, and came to Buckingham in 1585. His name 
occurs down to 161 3, but as early as 1605 we find the name of 
Robert, who carried on the foundry till 1633, when it was closed, 
and the business transferred to Henry Bagley of Chacomb. 

1 See his Bucks., p. 174 ff. ; also Vict, Hist, of Bucks., ii. p. 119 ff. 


At the little village of Drayton Parslow in the north of the 
county the firm of Chandler flourished exceedingly for nearly 
a hundred years. 1 The earliest representative is Richard (1635- 
1638); then come Anthony (1650- 1679) and Richard II. (1662- 
^73) ; followed by Richard III. (1674-1723), and George 
(168 1 -1726). They did good business not only in Bucks., but 
in Northants, Beds., and Herts., but the fortunes of the firm seem 
to have fluctuated considerably. After them the foundry was 
continued for about thirty years by Edward and William Hall. 

In Bedfordshire we find an important foundry in the county 
town, an offshoot from the Wattses and Newcombes of Leicester, 
established about 1580. It was first in the hands of William 
Watts, who like others of the family, uses the lettering and 
stamps of the Brasyers of Norwich. He was succeeded by the 
great Hugh Watts (see p. 245), who learned his business under 
his uncle there, and when he left about 16 10, the Newcombes 
came for a few years. Finally, the foundry was left to James 
Keene, of whose later career we have already spoken. Christopher 
Graye, son of Miles Graye of Colchester (p. 235), was at Ampthill 
for a few years about 1650, and Thomas Russell had a foundry 
between 171 5 and 1743 at Wootton near Bedford. 

Hertfordshire is another county of small foundries. The 
chief one was that of Robert Oldfield at Hertford (1605-1640), 
whose bells are almost confined to Herts, and Essex, but arc 
fairly numerous. His trade-mark was a shield with an arrow 
in pale and his initials, and it is curious that very similar marks 
were used by two contemporary founders with whom he had no 
connection. Like many other founders of the period he had 
three or four stereotyped inscriptions : — 




William Whitmore, who came from Gloucestershire, made 
Watford his headquarters between 1647 an ^ 1657, but much of 
his work was done for the Hodsons of London (p. 218), and he 
appears to have spent a year or two in Essex on this business. 
At Hertingfordbury, Herts., there is a bell inscribed 


and at Boreham, Essex, is another with 


In these and other cases the lettering is his own, not Hodson's. 
1 V. C. H. Bucks., ii. p. 123. 


Another eccentric and wandering personage was John 
Waylett (i 703-1 731) who began his career at Bishop's Stortford, 
left that place about 17 14, and toured in Sussex for two years. 
He then returned home and worked for Samuel Knight of 
London, till 1721. For the next three or four years he 
" itinerated," chiefly in Kent, and finally ended up in London 
from 1727-173 1. He was a rough artificer, but his bells are 
good for an itinerant. Mr E. V. Lucas says of him : * 

" His method was to call on the Vicar and ask if anything were wanted ; 
and if a bell was cracked, or if a new one was desired, he would dig a 
mould in a neighbouring field, build a fire, collect his metal, and perform 
the task on the spot. Waylett's business might be called the higher 

Of Richard Keene at Royston (1699- 1703) we have already 
spoken. His bells cast there are now only found in Essex and 
Cambridgeshire, and many of them have been since recast. The 
last Hertfordshire founder is John Briant of Hertford (1782- 
1825), a man of great integrity and an admirable craftsman, as 
evinced by his large rings yet remaining at Waltham Abbey, 
Shrewsbury, St. xAlkmund, and elsewhere. His reputation ex- 
tended all over the Midlands, and there is an interesting record 
extant of his transactions with the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln 
Cathedral, which shows him in a very favourable light. Un- 
fortunately he suffered like other founders from the growing 
reputation of Thomas Mears of London, who eventually 
purchased his business, and Briant was reduced to an un- 
merited old age of pauperism. 

1 Highways and Byways of Sussex, p. 399. 



II. The East and North 


WE begin our next section with the eastern county of Essex, 
where a great figure at once arrests our attention, that 
of " Colchester Graye " or Miles Graye of Colchester, the most 
celebrated founder of the seventeenth century. 1 But he was 
not the originator of the foundry there. Richard Bowler was 
casting there between 1587 and 1604, a man of some artistic 
taste, who used ornamental Gothic letters and decorative borders. 
His name appears in the town records for 1600, in a document 
which binds one Ambrose Gilbert to appear in court for having 
"grievously wounded" him, and in 1598 he himself appeared in 
the Courts on a trifling charge. 

The history of Miles Graye and his family presents some 
difficulty owing to the imperfect state of the records ; but we 
gather that he was born about 1575, was apprenticed to Bowler, 
and married his domestic servant, and subsequently another 
wife. He died in 1649 "crazed with age and weak in body," as 
his will puts it, and doubtless worn out by privations endured in 
the siege of Colchester ; his son Miles he cut off with a shilling. 
This son had acted as his assistant in the foundry for some 
years, but after the father's death we hear no more of him, and a 
subsequent Miles Graye, whose bells are common in the Eastern 
Counties between 1650 and 1686 (the year of his death;, must 
have been a grandson. About 270 bells by the older Miles still 
remain, nearly all in the eastern counties, about one-half in 
Essex itself; of these the masterpiece is generally acknowledged 
to be the tenor at Lavenham, Suffolk (p. 109). The younger 
Miles can claim about 150. Both men are very sparing in the 
use of ornament on their bells, and arc usually content with the 
simple inscription MILES GRAYE MADE .ME with the date; but 

1 See Deedes and Walters, C/i. Bells qfJSssex, p. 89 ft". 



there are a few exceptions. The second Miles, when working 
for his father, indulges in attempts at Latin, but at first with 
such want of success that he could only produce MILONEM 
GRAYE ME fecit. Subsequently, however, he improves this 
into MILO. Old Miles had another son Christopher, who started 
on an independent career, first at Ampthill, Beds, and then at 
Haddenham, Cambs, but was in every way an inferior founder 
to his father. 

The only other Essex founder known is Peter Hawkes, 
whose place of residence is uncertain, but may have been 
Braintree. His bells are few in number, but artistically in- 
scribed in neat black-letter, with a figure of a bird, which may 
be a punning reference to his name. 


In Suffolk there were three important foundries, located re- 
spectively at the three most im- 
portant towns in the county : Bury 
St. Edmunds, Ipswich, and Sudbury. 
The Bury foundry succeeded at no 
great interval to that of pre-Reforma- 
tion times, and Stephen Tonne, 
whose father John and uncle Stephen 
had been casting somewhere in 
north-west Essex between 1540 and 
1546, settled at Bury some fifteen 
years later. His earliest bell, at 
Reepham, Norfolk, is dated 1559, 
and his latest 1587. In all about 
fifty remain, the majority in Suffolk, 
and others in Essex, Norfolk, and 
Cambridgeshire. His regular inscription formula is — 



in rather ornamental Roman capitals, with a mark of a crown 
pierced with two arrows in saltire (236) with reference to Bury 
St. Edmunds. Some of his bells bear also the initials W. L. 
or T. D. (or both together), representing William Land and 
Thomas Draper, who acted as his foremen. The former had 
a son who " itinerated," and is found in London and elsewhere 
between 161 2 and 1637 (see p. 218); Thomas Draper went to 
Thetford on the Norfolk border, and died there in 1595, the 
business which he founded being carried on by his son John 
down to 1644. Their bells are fairly common in East Anglia. 

Stamp of Stephen Tonne 
of Bury St. Edmunds 


Meanwhile the Bury foundry was left in the hands of three 
men, whose career was less prosperous than their predecessor's, 
and their bells, on which their initials appear jointly or 
separately, are only found in Suffolk. Their names are Thomas 
Cheese (1603- 1632), John Driver (1602- 161 5), and James Edbury 
(1603-1623). Subsequently we hear of John Hardy, who died 
in 1657, and who may be the maker of a bell now at High- 
wood, Essex, and his brother-in-law Abraham Greene. But the 
foundry seems to have fallen on evil days in the seventeenth 
century, and probably found it impossible to compete against 
Miles Graye on the south and the men of Norwich on the 

A more prosperous career was enjoyed at a later date by 
John Darbie of Ipswich (1656-1685), who was less troubled by 
rivals, and has left 160 bells in Suffolk, with others in neighbour- 
ing counties. His bells are for the most part simply inscribed, 
like those of the Grayes. He had a relation named Michael, 
who was a great wanderer, but a most inferior workman (see 
above, p. 179). Antony a Wood has given an account of his 
"knaveries" at Oxford in 1657, in connection with Merton 
College. 1 Specimens of his wretched productions still remain 
in at least seven counties. 

Lastly, we have the foundry at Sudbury, started in 1691 by 
Henry Pleasant, who is said to have come from Colchester. He 
died in 1707, and has left some forty bells in East Anglia. His 
punning rhymes at Maldon in Essex are famous, and have been 
quoted elsewhere (p. 337), nor are these his only attempts at 
poetry. Ipswich St. Nicholas, and Little Tey in Essex have 
also immortalised him. His successor, John Thornton (1708- 
1720), has not left man}' bells, but those remaining have a good 

A rival foundry seems to have been started at Sudbury 
by Thomas Gardiner, whose long and prosperous career 
extends from 1709 to 1760, thus overlapping throughout with 
Thornton's. His existing bells number over 250, but they 
were not all cast at Sudbury, for we have documentary 
evidence that in 1739 he was casting in South Essex, 2 
and between 1740 and 1745 he was at Norwich. His work 
even crossed the water, to Hoo St. Werburgh in Kent. The 
various stages in his career are further marked by his use 
of various stamps or forms of inscription ; he is fond of 
using crosses as stops between the words, and one of these 
was borrowed from the mediaeval Norwich foundry, another 

1 See Raven, Cambs., p. 90. 

- Deedes and Walters, Essex, pp. 126, 207. 


(296) from Austen Bracker of Lynn (see below). His usual 
formula is — 


with the date. Another peculiarity of his was the use of a 
square U, which, however, he only adopted for a time. Like 
Pleasant he was a poetical genius, and one of his rhymes (at 
Great Horkesley, Essex) was considered so libellous that part 
of it was filed away off the bell. 

In more recent times a foundry has been set up at Ipswich 
by Messrs Bowell, who have done good work in their neigh- 
bourhood ; and one or two bells have been cast by a firm more 
famous in another direction, that of Ransome & Sims, the 
makers of agricultural implements. 


The Norfolk foundries are numerous, and one or two of some 
importance. As in the mediaeval period, we begin with Lynn, 
where Austen Bracker appears to have been casting in the 
sixteenth century. His date is fixed by one of his bells, at 
Islington (Norf), which bears the date 1556, a rare occurrence 
in Mary's reign. That he was a follower of the existing regime 
is implied by the mediaeval character of some of his inscriptions, 
as at Little Cornard, Suffolk, and Alphamstone, Essex. He was 
also addicted to using mediaeval lettering and stamps. Some- 
times, as at Harston and Newton, Cambs., he puts on his 
inscriptions backwards. 

The great foundry at Norwich was revived in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth, and held by the same family, that of the 
Brends, for about a hundred years. Their bells are very 
numerous in Norfolk, and hardly less so in Suffolk, but only 
one is known elsewhere. The first representative of the firm 
was John Brend (1 564-1 582), and he was followed by William 
and Alice his wife (1 586-1634), whose initials appear joined in 
a monogram. Their inscriptions are usually of a simple type, 
such as " Anno Domini " with the date, and they often use a 
medallion with the arms of Norwich city, and the foundry- 
shield of the Brasyers (207). John Brend II. held the foundry 
from 1634 to 1658, and was succeeded by Elias (1568-1666): 
After him came Edward Tooke (1671-1679), and Samuel Gilpin 
(1679- 1 705). 

The foundry was then acquired by Charles Newman, a rather 
inferior though prolific founder (1684- 1709) and his son Thomas 
(1701-1744). But they were restless men, and much of their 


business was done elsewhere. Charles made his principal head- 
quarters at Lynn, and Haddenharn, Cambs. ; and Thomas spent 
much of his time at Cambridge and Bur)- St. Edmunds. Hence 
the latter's bells are very common in Cambs. and Suffolk. Mr 
Owen attributes this to their business instincts, and says 
they "thought that if business did not come to them, they must 
go to the business." : In the eighteenth century we hear of John 
Stephens at Bracondale near Norwich (1717-1727) and the 
Sudbury men also paid occasional visits to this foundry, Thomas 
Gardiner being there between 1745 and 1753. There were also 
foundries at Redgrave, worked by John Goldsmith (1708-1714), 
and at East Dereham, where Joseph Mallows was casting from 
1756 to 1760. The latter is distinguished by his use of a kind 
of cryptogram in his inscriptions, using numerals for the vowels 
and liquids; thus: JOSEPH MALLOWS FECIT becomes J4S2PH 
71664WS F2C3T at Beetley, Norfolk. 

The last foundry to be mentioned in Norfolk is that at 
Downham Market, held by Thomas Osborn, who came from 
St. Neots, 1 783- 1 806. He was succeeded by William Dobson 
(1806- 1 833), who cast some important rings (St. Nicholas, 
Liverpool ; Poole, Dorset, &c). The business was finally 
brought up by Mears of Whitechapel. 

Cambridge, Hunts., Northants 

Bell-founding in Cambridgeshire was somewhat spasmodic. 
At the beginning of the seventeenth century Richard Holdfell 
or Holdfeld was active in the University town, in the neighbour- 
hood of which many of his bells remain. He also worked with 
Bowler in Essex, and inherited his fine set of Gothic capitals. 
He seems to have been shaky about his aspirates, for on his 
foundry-mark his initials appear sometimes as R. H., sometimes 
as R. O. ! His date is 1599-1612. About the middle of the 
century we have Christopher Graye (see p. 233) at Haddenharn, 
where he was succeeded by Charles Newman, afterwards of 
Lynn. Thomas Newman, the latter's son, was also at Cambridge 
during part of his career, and sometimes states the fact on 
his bells. 

Huntingdonshire, though a small county, boasts two foundries 
of some importance. The first is that of William Haulsey at 
St. Ives (161 5-1629). He did a very fair amount of work in 
Hunts, and the adjoining counties, and is chiefly noteworthy 
for his excellent and original inscriptions in Latin verse. 
Specimens are given on p. 331. In the eighteenth century 

1 Hunts.) p. 36. 


Joseph Eayre came from Kettering (see below), and set up a 
foundry at St. Neots, built of brick in the form of a bell. He 
carried on a flourishing business there between 1735 and 177 1 , 
and his elegant Latin and English verses adorn many bells in 
the Midlands. He was succeeded by Edward Arnold (1761- 
1784), who subsequently migrated to Leicester ; but his successor 
Robert Taylor returned to St. Neots from 1800 to 1821, when 
the foundry was closed. Its last owner, however, was destined 
to be the progenitor of the illustrious line of Taylors, to whom 
we must presently return. 

Northamptonshire can claim the possession of one of the 
most important foundries of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, located in the obscure village of Chacomb, near 
Banbury, where it was carried on with few interruptions for 
150 years by the Bagley family. 1 The first owner of the foundry, 
Henry Bagley I., who learned his business with the Attons at 
Buckingham (p. 232), had a prosperous career of over fifty years, 
from 1 63 1 to 1687. His earliest bell is at Souldern in Oxford- 
shire. In 1679 ne took his son, Henry II., into partnership, 
and the latter was soon joined by his brother Matthew. Between 
1680 and 1687 they cast many rings of bells in partnership, their 
names usually occurring on separate bells. A third brother, 
William, also appears in 168 1. In 1687 the firm split up, Henry 
migrating to Ecton near Wellingborough, where he remained 
till his death in 1703. Matthew went to Evesham, and died 
there in 1690, and William remained at Chacomb till his death 
in 171 2. The Matthew Bagley who was working in London 
at this time (p. 219) seems to have been an offshoot from this 
family. In 1706 a third Henry, probably son of William, 
makes his appearance at Chacomb. He was, however, a roving 
spirit, and though it is difficult to trace his wanderings, he is 
heard of successively at Witney (Oxon.), Northampton, Buck- 
ingham, and Reading between i7ioandi74i. He then returned 
to Chacomb till his death in 1746. The last of the race, 
Matthew II., Henry III.'s younger brother, was born in 1700, 
cast his first bell in 1740, and his last (at Tysoe, Warwickshire) 
in 1782, the year of his death. From 1712-1740 no founding- 
seems to have been done at Chacomb, and under the last two 
men it never attained to its old reputation. 

The Bagleys are chiefly remarkable for the rich decoration 
of their bells, on which some half-dozen different ornamental 
borders are used, and for their weaknesses in the matter of 
orthography. When they do attempt Latin the result is as 

1 For a resume of their history, with pedigree, see Tilley and Walters, 
Ch. Bells of Wat-wick, p. 63 ff. 


often as not a failure {cf. p. 333 for an awful example) ; but one 
phrase they "got solid," and invariably use on their treble bells 


Some good inscriptions occur on their earlier bells, as at 
Grandborough, Warwickshire, and another typical one is 


When they drop into poetry, the result is not encouraging. At 
Burton Dasset, Warwickshire, we have 


a form of self-advertisement only too common at that time. 

Henry Penn had a foundry at Peterborough from 1703 to 
1729, and earned the distinction of casting the rings, albeit both 
small ones, at Ely and Peterborough Cathedrals. His inscrip- 
tions are often in quite elegant Latin. His end was somewhat 
tragic ; the people of St Ives, being dissatisfied with the bells 
that he cast for them, brought a law-suit against him. He 
obtained a verdict, but the excitement affected his heart, and he 
died immediately after the trial. A contemporary foundry at 
Kettering was managed by Thomas Eayre (1710-1716) and his 
son of the same name ( 1 7 1 7- 1757)- The latter's brother Joseph 
we have already mentioned in connection with St Neot's. 


Leicestershire has the proud distinction of containing two of 
the most famous foundries in the history of the craft. 1 The 
name of Hugh Watts in the days of the earlier Stuarts was as 
famous as that of John Taylor & Co. at the present day. The 
earlier history of the Leicester foundry has already been narrated, 
but its palmiest days were yet to come. 

Robert Newcombe, the second founder of the name, to whom 
no bells so far have been traced, died in 1561, and was succeeded 
by Thomas, of whom we hear in 1562 as casting a bell for 
Melton Mowbray. As this bell, mentioned in the parish 
accounts, still exists, it is important as throwing light on the 
stamps he used. It bears a foundry mark with a bell and the 
initials T. N., which mark enables us to assign to this founder 
many bells in the Midlands, otherwise anonymous and generally 

1 See Tilley and Walters, 67/. Bells of Warwick^ p. 29 ff. 


undated. These bells are usually inscribed with the name of a 
saint, as S. MARIA, S. ANNA, or simply PETER, IOHANNES, etc., 
but their late date is shown by the character of the lettering, 
which is a sort of quasi-Gothic, characteristic of the Elizabethan 
period. Others again are inscribed in black-letter, like the bell 
at Melton Mowbray, and these have their distinguishing marks. 
Thomas Newcombe died in 1580, and was succeeded by a 
second Robert (1 580-1 598), whose name occurs on some half- 
dozen bells with the same cross and lettering as used by 
Thomas, but there is no foundry mark. In his later years, as 
on the treble at Gloucester Cathedral, he adopts a small Roman 
alphabet, with a new cross and a fleur-de-lys stop. Con- 
temporary with him was his brother Edward (1570-1 616), who 
appears to have worked in partnership with Francis and Hugh 
Watts. The latter founders had acquired the lettering and 
other stamps of the Brasyers of Norwich (p. 206), and these 
stamps even occur on bells with Edward Newcombe's name, 
as at Warmington, Warwickshire. They also possessed a set 
of the "Royal Heads" (p. 194), those originally in the hands 
of John Rufford of Toddington, which came to them from 

Between 1602 and 16 12 we find many bells inscribed 


or simply with the last five words. The lettering is plain 
Roman, and ornaments are rarely used. These bells appear to 
have been cast by Edward in conjunction with his three sons, 
Thomas, Robert, and William. In his last years Edward cast 
bells of this type at his branch foundry at Bedford, already 
mentioned (p. 233). W 7 illiam Newcombe cast Great Tom of 
Lincoln with Oldfield of Nottingham in 1610, the operation 
taking place in the Minster Yard. 

There was during this period a rival foundry in Leicester, 
worked by the Watts family, of whom the first representative was 
Francis (1564- 1600). His daughter married Robert Newcombe, 
and this probably accounts for the entente cordiale between the 
two firms in 1 590-1600. Francis Watts and Edward Newcombe 
together cast the great bell of Stratford-on-Avon Guild Chapel 
in 1 591. The former's name occurs on a bell at Bingham, Notts., 
undated, but inscribed in the beautiful Brasyer capitals, which 
this firm invariably used down to 161 5, together with the 
Norwich shield of three bells and a crown (206, 207). Francis 
Watts had two younger brothers, one of whom, William, 
worked entirely at Bedford, the other, Hugh, cast a bell for 


Bell by Taylor of Loughborough (Downside Abbey) 


South Luffenham, Rutland, in 1593, with lettering also found 
on bells with Newcombe's stamps. Other bells by him range 
in date between 1 591 and 161 5 ; they are usually inscribed with 
a portion of the alphabet, or with some short inscription, PRAISE 
THE LORD, or GOD save OVR kino. Hugh Watts I. died in 
1617-18, but before this had made way for his son Hugh II., who 
had learned his business since 1600 with his uncle William at 

Hugh Watts II. administered the Leicester foundry from 
161 5 to 1643, being left in full possession of the field by the 
retirement of the Newcombes, and seems to have made good 
use of his opportunities. His fine bells are found in large 
numbers in Leicester, Northants, and Warwick, though more 
rarely in other counties. They are inscribed in a small heavy 
Roman type, and ornamented with the Brasyer shield and two 
kinds of decorative borders between the words, but the founder's 
name never appears. He has some half-dozen stock inscriptions, 
of which the commonest is the familiar 


which caused his bells to be known as " Watts' Nazarenes." 

In 1638-1642 he adopts a new type of letter, and reverts to 
the "alphabet" style of inscription, and about 1633 revives the 
Brasyer capitals on some of his bells, notably the fine bell of the 
Guild Chapel at Stratford. After his death in 1643 the foundry 
came to an end. 

The Loughborough foundry has succeeded to the glories of 
the old Leicester firms, but its history belongs to the present, 
not to the past, and it would be inappropriate to say much of 
it here. Though no continuity with the Leicester men can be 
traced, the Taylors enjoy a respectable pedigree, going back for 
two hundred years to Thomas Eayre of Kettering, through Robert 
Taylor (p. 240) and his son John, who opened this now celebrated 
foundry in 1840. For some years their business was com- 
paratively small, but it grew steadily, and an enormous impetus 
was given to it by their selection to cast the great ring of St. 
Paul's Cathedral in 1878, followed by "Great Paul" in l88l, 
and the Imperial Institute ring in 1887. Under its present 
representatives, Messrs J. W. & E. Denison Taylor, the firm 
now has no equal in England for up-to-date methods and 
excellence of workmanship. We illustrate a specimen (243) 
cast recently for Downside Abbey in Somerset. Others are 
given on pp. 10 1, 105. 



In Lincolnshire 1 there was a foundry of some importance 
at Stamford, roughly coincident with the seventeenth century. 
Its successive owners were four in number : Tobie Norris I. 
(1603-1626); Thomas Norris (1628-1674); Tobie Norris II. 
(1664-1698); and Alexander Rigby (1684-1708). The three 
former cast many bells for South Lincolnshire and the adjoining 
districts, and Tobie Norris I. has some good typical inscriptions. 
He was evidently a sturdy supporter of Protestant principles, 
as one of his favourite inscriptions shows (p. 335). Alexander 
Rigby's bells go far afield, to Bucks, and Gloucestershire, but 
did not always find favour, as we learn from Rudhall's jibe at 
Badgworth in the latter county (p. 338). 

Little founding was done at Lincoln ; but Humphrey 
Wilkinson was at work there from 1676 to 1718; his fame is, 
however, purely local. A more successful foundry was that set 
up at a later date by James Harrison at Barrow-on-Humber 
in 1763, with a branch at Barton-on-Humber. He was succeeded 
in 1770 by Henry Harrison; but the best time of the foundry 
was under James II. from 1788 to 1833, when many bells were 
cast for Lincolnshire and the East Riding, including several 
large rings. 


The great rival foundry to that of Leicester was, as in 
mediaeval times, that of Nottingham. 2 We take up its tale in 
or about the year 1550, when the foundry was in the hands of 
Humphry Ouarnby, son-in-law of Robert Mellour (p. 203). He 
cast a bell for Worksop in 1559, and there may be one specimen 
of his work left at North Muskham, Notts., where the 4th bell 
is dated 1556, but no more is known of him. Between 1550 
and 1580 Henry Oldfield, the first of a long and successful line, 
was in possession of the foundry, but here again we are at a 
loss to assign existing bells to him. We know more of his 
son Henry Oldfield II. (1 582-1619) and his assistants Robert 
Ouarnby and Henry Dand, whose bells in Notts, and adjoining 
counties are very numerous. They are usually inscribed in 
quasi-mediaeval style, with Gothic capitals or in mixed lettering, 
and a profusion of crosses and other marks, including the Royal 
Heads and William Rufford's cross, which this foundry had 
acquired from Worcester. Our illustration (247) is from the old 

1 See for the Lincolnshire foundries North, C/i. Bells of Lines., p. 51 ft". 
- See as before, Viet. County Hist, of Notts., ii. p. 369. 




9th bell at St. Mary's, Nottingham. Henry Band's bells in 
particular might be mistaken for mediaevals ; they are usually 
inscribed in ornate lettering — 

Urtnitate Sacra jfiat ibaec Gampana JScata t>S>. 

without a date. Of this founder the only record is that he cast 
a bell for Shrewsbury Abbey church with Oldfield in 1591. 
Henry Oldfield's foundry stamp (249) bears his initials foO with 
a cross, crescent, and star. His favourite inscription (250) is — 

3 sweetly toling men oo call to taste on meate tbat 
feeos tbe souie, 

and two others of the same type favoured by the Nottingham 
foundry are — 

all men tbat beare my mournful souno repent before 

yon lie in Gvouno 
my roaring sonno ootb warning give tbat men cannot 

bere always live. 

The Oldfields had for a time a branch establishment at 
Congleton in Cheshire, 1 worked by Paul Hutton and George 
Lee, who were their foremen 
about 1 6 10- 1 630. 

Henry was succeeded by 
his son George, who was born 
in 1600, and enjoyed a long 
and successful career of sixty 
years, dying in 1680. Like 
his father, he seldom places 
his name on his bells, which 
are extraordinarily numerous 
in Notts., Derby, and Lincoln ; 
but they may be identified by 
his foundry stamp, which is his 
father's, altered by obliterating 
the b and placing a G over it. 
For the most part he discards 
the old Nottingham stamps, 

and uses plain Roman letters, with running borders between 
the words (250J. His favourite inscription is <;oi> SAVE His 
CHVRCH, often with the addition of OVR KING \\i> REALM. 
After his death there was an interregnum, his grandson, George 

Stamp of Henry Oldfield 

1 Trans. Hist. Soc. Lane, and Chesh., xlii. (1890) p. 
Courant, 15th April, 6th May 1908. 

166 : Cheshire 





t'i' f." 


II., who succeeded him, being only ten years old. The latter's 
bells begin in 1690 and go down to 1740; they bear neither 
name nor foundry stamp, but can be recognised by the style of 
inscription. George II. revived the old style of lettering used 
by Henry Dand for a few years, and it is surprising to find bells 
dated about 1700 with inscriptions in black-letter and fine 
Gothic initials (292). 

The family came to an end at his death in 1 74 1 , and the 
foundry passed to Daniel and Thomas Hedderley, formerly of 
Bawtry and Derby (1722- 1732). Thomas cast many bells 
at Nottingham between 1744 and 1778, and was succeeded by 
his sons Thomas and George, the former of whom died in 1785, 
while the latter emigrated to America in 1800. On bells at 
Duffield, Derbyshire (1786), and Wellingore, Lines. (1787), 
George Hedderley breaks out into the old Gothic capitals of 
the Toddington and Worcester foundries, with the accompanying 
Royal Heads, the latest instance of the use of such a style in 
English bell inscriptions, before the Gothic revival. 

Derby, Stafford, Salop 

The counties of Derby and Stafford produced little in the 
way of bell-founding. In the former the only foundry was at 
Chesterfield, where the Heathcote family (see p. 202) continued 
their business down to 1643 or later. 1 Ralph Heathcote, who 
succeeded George in 1558, died in 1577, and was succeeded by 
his son Godfrey, who is recorded to have cast a bell for Wirks- 
worth in 1610. The latter died in 1643, leaving a son Ralph, 
but there is no evidence that the latter was a bell-founder. The 
older Ralph and Godfrey may have cast bells bearing respectively 
shields with R. H. and G. H. and the filfot emblem ; the inscrip- 
tions are in effective quasi-Gothic lettering. Not many exist 
outside Derbyshire. 

In Staffordshire the only foundry (until modern days) was 
at Walsall. Here we have two Thomas Hancoxes, whose 
respective dates are 1622-163 1 ar| d 163 1- 1640. Their bells, 
some thirty-four in number, are noteworthy for the richness of 
their ornamentation. 2 Some of the stamps they used, reproduc- 
tions of mediaeval seals, have been described elsewhere (p. 309). 
They possessed five or six different alphabets (252), and an 
almost endless number of running borders, together with fleurs- 
de-lys, and other kinds of crosses and stops. One of their most 

1 Reliquary, xvi. p. 141 fif. 

2 See Tilley and Walters, C/i. Bells of Warwick, p. 50 ff. 


elaborately decorated bells is at Dovcridge in Derbyshire, and 
there are others at Mancetter, Warwickshire, and Droitvvich 
St. Andrew, Worcestershire. The elder Thomas was Mayor of 
Walsall in 1620. 

In Shropshire there was a foundry of considerable importance 
at Wellington, which lasted just over a hundred years, during 
most of which time it was represented by the family of Clibury. 1 
John Clibury was founding about 1 590-1600, and used large 
Gothic capitals very like the Brasyers'. He died in i6i5,but 
ten years earlier made way for William, probably his son, whose 
career extended from 1605-1642. His bells are fairly numerous 
in the county, and are inscribed in good Roman letters (252), 
the inscriptions being of the type usual at this period : IESVS BE 
OVR SPEED, GOD SAVE HIS CHVRCH, and the Bagley favourite, 
CANTATE domino CANTICVM NOVVM. But most frequent is 
gloria IN EXCELSVS DEO, the third word being invariably 
misspelled. About 1621 he was joined by Thomas, probably 
his younger brother, whose career was short (162 1- 1637). A 
younger Thomas, whose connection with the preceding cannot 
be ascertained, held the foundry from 1650- 167 1, and was 
succeeded by his son Henry (1673- 1682). 

The Cliburys are great at ornamentation, using a great 
variety of initial crosses and ornamental borders between the 
words on their bells, as well as rows of arabesques above and 
below the inscriptions. William has an elaborate foundry stamp 
with a bell and WILLIAM CLEBRY MADE ME, occurring at 
Clunbury and Kemberton, but usually we find a plain shield 
with the initials W. C. or T. C. The Thomases borrowed some 
of the stamps used by George Oldfield of Nottingham, and even 
copy his style of inscription. The last owner of the foundry 
bore the initials I. B., which have not yet been identified : his 
bells, seven in number, cover the period 1685-1700. 

At Shrewsbury there was a short lived foundry between 1678 
and 1700,- held successively by Thomas Roberts (1673- 1683) 
and Ellis Hughes (1684- 1700). Their business was almost 
entirely local, and their bells do not call for much remark, but 
some of Thomas Roberts' inscriptions are interesting. Both 
indulge at times in the chronogram (p. 348), as at St. Leonard's, 
Bridgenorth, and West Felton, Salop. In the early part of the 
seventeenth century one of the many Oldfields, Richard by name, 
was itinerating in South Shropshire and the neighbourhood, 
and we hear of him more than once in and round Ludlow.'' 

1 See Shropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans., 4th Ser., i. p. 49 AT. 

- /did., p. 64. 

3 Op. ciL, p. 68 ff. ; see for his lettering p. 2^4. 


Yorkshire and the Northern Counties 

As in the mediaeval period, the York founders enjoyed 
almost a monopoly in the north of England down to about the 
middle of the eighteenth century, and we hear of very few rivals 
in that part of the country. In Carlisle George Lees and 
Edmund Wright were founding about 1610, and cast a bell for 
the cathedral in 1608. 1 Somewhat later we hear of Aaron 
Peever at Kirkosvvald, Cumberland (1624-1629), 2 one or two of 
whose bells still remain, and Thomas Stafford at Penrith (1630), 3 
who is represented by a bell at Cartmel-in-Furness with a black- 
letter inscription. In the whole of industrial Lancashire there 
has only been one foundry, at Wigan, where the names are John 
Scott (1656-1664), William Scott (1673- 1 701), Ralph Ashton 
(1703- 1 720), and Luke Ashton (1724-1750). 4 But their bells are 
by no means numerous. Luke Ashton is remarkable for using 
"lower-case" letters, like Sanders of Bromsgrove (see p. 295). 

The great York foundry 5 was not quite so prosperous and 
far-reaching as in the mediaeval period, but for about a hundred 
and fifty years it had practically no rivals. The first name we 
meet with is a familiar one in bell-founding annals, that of 
Oldfield. Robert Oldfield cast a bell for Castle Sowerby, 
Cumberland, in 1586, and that at Keswick Town Hall in 1601. 6 
In 161 5 his initials occur at Broughton-in-Craven, Yorks , in 
conjunction with those of William Oldfield, probably his son. 
The latter's bells cover the period 1601-1642, and are fairly 
common in Yorkshire, there being ten in the cathedral city. 
His favourite inscription is SOLI DEO GLORIA, and another for 
which he uses black-letter with fine Gothic capitals is : — 

In JrcvnMtate Sent .Scmabo WM Nomine 
Kt .ismlceMne ^ocis €Tantabo Wvlo Nomine 

as at Bolton Percy, Yorks. He was succeeded by William 
Cuerdon (1650-1678), who had as partner Abraham Smith ; 
their joint initials appear on several bells down to 1662, when 
Smith died, and Cuerdon migrated to Doncaster. Between 
1635 and 1 67 1 we find on many bells in North Lincolnshire the 

1 Climb, and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., viii. p. 142. 

2 Ibid., vii. p. 226. 

3 Ibid., xiii. p. 331. 

4 Ibid., ix., p. 243; Notes and Queries, 10th Ser., v. pp. 257, 377 (31st 
Mar., 1 2th May 1906). 

6 See generally Assoc. Archit. Soc. Reports, xxvii. p. 632 ff. ; Viet. County 
Hist, of Yorks., ii. p. 451. 

Cunib. and Westm. Arch. Soc. Trans., xi. p. 1 56. 


initials \Y. S., thought to be those of William Sellars of York, 
but only two are known in Yorkshire. 

After Abraham Smith's death the York foundry passed to 
Samuel Smith, who enjoyed a successful career down to 1709 
when he died and was succeeded by his son Samuel (1709-1731). 
Over two hundred bells by these two founders remain, in York- 
shire and the adjoining counties. They are marked by a 
plentiful use of ornamental borders, usually one below the in- 
scription, in which are inserted numerous bells and a shield with 

T-, . Their favourite inscriptions are GLORIA IN ALTISSIMIS 
Ebor l 

DEO, VOCO VENI PRECARE, and others of like sentiment. 

A rival foundry was started in 17 10 by Edward Seller, whose 
bells are similar in style, and he uses the same device for his name, 

a medallion with Seller. He died in 1724 and was succeeded 

by another Edward, who died in 1764, his latest bell being 
dated 1760. He also appears to have had a prosperous business. 
The last of this line of founders was George Dalton (1750-1791), 
who cast over seventy bells in the county, including several 
rings of six. 

The remaining Yorkshire foundries are of little importance. 
There was an intermittent one at Hull in the seventeenth century, 
worked by John Conyers (1616-1630) and Andrew Gurney (1676- 
1678), and between 1626 and 1647 we have Augustine Bowler, 
who has been regarded as a Yorkshire founder, but his bells are 
only found across the Humber. In the next century there was 
a foundry at Wath-on-Dearne, carried on by T. Hilton (1774- 
1808), and at Rotherham Joseph Ludlam, a famous clock-maker, 
and A. Walker had a business between 1733 and 1760. Daniel 
Hedderley was founding at Rawtry 1722- 1733, but the principal 
work of this firm was done afterwards when they migrated to 
Nottingham (p. 251). A few sporadic nineteenth-century 
foundries call for no remark. 


THE circumstance of bells bearing names in mediaeval times 
has given rise to much controversy as to whether they 
were actually baptized, or merely "hallowed" and dedicated. 
Much has been written on both sides of the subject, and in 
particular Dr Oliver, a learned authority of the Roman Catholic 
Church, has expressly stated that the baptism of bells never 
obtained in the Church. 1 But the probable explanation is, that 
the ceremonies used at the consecration of bells so closely 
resembled those used in the Baptismal Office, that the question 
became merely one of terminology. 

The baptism of bells then, if we may use the term, was 
certainly in use in very early times. There was an injunction 
of Charlemagne, dating from the year 789, ut clocas non 
baptizent ;' 1 but the words of Martene: " etsi capitularia Caroli 
Magni anno 789, iubeant ut clocae non baptizentur, antiquus 
tamen usus Ecclesiae obtinuit, ut signorum seu campanarum 
benedictio Baptismi indigetur," 3 clearly point to the fact that 
it was forbidden only in the case of small bells {clocae), but 
was required {iiidigetur') for signa or campimae. And about 
the same time Alcuin, the tutor of Charlemagne, wrote " neque 
novum videri debet Campanas benedicere et ungere eisque 
nomen imponere." 4 Doubtless, however, it was felt that the 
practice was somewhat derogatory to the sanctity of the Sacra- 
ment, and Martene is careful to explain that it was not such 
baptism as conferred remission of sins, but only that the same 
ceremonies were employed as in the case of persons : " lotio, 
unctio, nominis impositio, quae tarn baptismum quam baptismi 
signa et symbola representare dicenda sunt." Bloxam 5 states 

1 Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 269. 

2 Migne's Patrologia, xcvii. p. 188. 

3 De Ritibus Ecclesiae, ii. chap. 21 (1788 ed., vol. ii. p. 297); J. S. 
Durantus, De Ritibus Eccles. CathoL, i. chap. 22 (Paris, 1632, p. 214), is to 
the same effect. 

4 Quoted by Durantus, loc. cit.j see also Rocca, De Campanis, chap. 5. 

5 Gothic Architecture, ii. p. 26. 



that the service of benediction dates from about 970, the time 
of the papacy of John XIII., from which time onwards very- 
little variety of ceremonial was introduced. 

The Pontifical of Egbert, Archbishop of York, and other 
early office books contain services for the consecration of bells, 
and others may be found in the Pontifical of Clement VIII. 
(1 592-1605), and in another, in the British Museum. A, work 
entitled Recueil Cwieux et Edifiant sur les Cloches de VEglise} 
dealing with the ceremonies of the baptism of bells, was pub- 
lished at Cologne in 1757, and has a frontispiece illustrating the 
various ceremonies (258-260). First is shewn the benediction of 
the bell ; in a second scene it is being washed ; in a third a 
censer of incense is smoking beneath it. In all three scenes the 
bell hangs from a tripod ; the ceremony would therefore seem to 
have taken place before it was raised to the bell-chamber, where 
indeed there would not have been room for the celebrants and 
sponsors to stand. It was customary for the bells to have 
sponsors of quality, and the most considerable priest of the 
place, or even a bishop or archbishop officiated. At St. 
Lawrence, Reading, in 1499, the churchwardens record that they 
" paid 6s. <Sd. for the hallowing of the great bell named Harry, 
Sir William Symys, Richard Cleche and Mistress Smyth being 
godfather and godmother." 2 At Crostwight, Norfolk, there is a 
bell inscribed 

"John Aslak named me John," 

which commemorates the person who " stood sponsor " to the 

According to the British Museum Pontifical, which gives 
directions de benedictio)ie signi vel campcuiae, the service began 
with the recital of the Litany, and then while the choir sang 
the antiphon " Asperges me," the Psalm "Miserere" and Psalm 
cxlv. with the five following psalms, and the antiphon " In 
civitate Domini clare sonant," the bell about to be blessed 
was washed with holy water into which salt had been cast, 
wiped with a towel by the attendants, and anointed by the 
Bishop with holy oil. Dipping the thumb of his right 
hand into the oil, he made the sign of the cross on the 
top of the bell, and then marked it again with holy oil, 
saying, " Sancti •£■ ficetur et conse ►£< cretur, Domine, signum 
istud in nomine Pa ►£- tris et Fi ■£■ Hi et Spiritus <i> Sancti, in 

1 Chaps, iii.-xi. of this work contain much interesting detail relating to 
the subject. See also Martene, loc. cit. 

2 Kerry, Hist, of St. Lawrence, Reading, p. 84. 



honorem Sancti N. . . . Pax tibi " ; after which the bell was 
censed. 1 

In the little French book already referred to the procedure 
of the Roman Rite is given as follows (p. 42 ff.). The bell is 
suspended at a convenient height for the officiants, and if more 
than one, at convenient distances apart, with linen cloths under- 
neath to receive the water used in the ablution. The water, 
napkins and sacred vessels holding oil, salt, and incense are 

The washing of the bell 

placed on a credence-table close at hand, and there must also be 
a desk for the reading of the Gospel, and seats for the officiants, 
who are to be properly vested in alb, stole, etc. The service 
begins with seven appropriate Psalms (50, 53, 56, 66, 69, 85, and 
129 Vulg.) chanted or recited. Then the officiant blesses the 

1 Smith's Diet, of Christian Antiqs., art. " Bells " ; Ellacombe, Bells of the 
Church, p. 275 ; see also Raven, Bells of England, p. 38 ; North, English 
Bells, p. 23. 



water and salt with appropriate prayers and versicles, ending up 
with a petition that " ubicumque sonuerit hoc tintinnabulum, 
procul recedat virtus insidiantium, umbra phantasmatum, in- 
cursio turbinum, percussio fulminum,laesio tonitruorum, calamitas 
tempestatum, omnisque spiritus procellarum," etc. He then adds: 
" Commixtio salis et aquae pariter fiat : in nomine Patris 4- et 
Filii 4- et Spiritus 4- Sancti Amen." 

The bell is then washed (258) and wiped with a napkin 

The blessing of the bell 

(which ceremony, says the writer, is a kind of exorcism against 
demons) ; meanwhile they recite or chant to the sixth tone the 
six psalms 145-150. The officiant then takes the vessel of oil 
in his right hand, and makes on the bell the sign of the cross 
(259), with a prayer to the effect " ut hoc vasculum sanctae tuae 
Ecclesiae praeparatum sancti 4- ficetur a Spiritu Sancto." The 
oil is then wiped off, and the antiphon Vox domini super aquas 
multas sung to the eighth tone, with Psalm 28. During the 



psalm he anoints the bell eleven times, saying the words, 
" Sancti «£• ficetur et conse 4- cretur," etc., as already quoted. 
After another prayer invoking heavenly blessings on the bell, 
it is solemnly censed (260), and the choir sings Psalm 76 with 
the antiphon Dens in sancto via tun. Then follows a final 
prayer, and the Deacon chants the gospel (from Luke x. 38 ff.), 
and after the officiant has made the sign of the cross in silence 
on the bell, the ceremonies are brought to a close. 

The censing of the bell 

Indulgences were sometimes granted at the consecration of 
a bell. At Gamlingay, Cambs., on 3rd May 1490, the Bishop 
of Ely granted forty days' indulgence to all who should say five 
Paternosters and five Aves at the sound of the great bell, and 
five Aves at the sound of the small one. 1 

Whether they were to be considered as having been baptized 
or not, it is evident that in early times bells often had names, 

1 GentlemarCs Mag., lxxiii. (1803, ii.), p. 710. 


like Christian people ; and thus, as we have seen, the bells of 
Croyland Abbey (p. 13), as well as those of Ely, Exeter, and 
other cathedrals, of Bury St. Edmunds and Osney Abbeys, and 
many others, were known by their special names. The Osney 
bells were called Douce, Clement, Haustin, Hautclere, Gabriel, 
Mary, and John. 1 Similarly we may note that the earliest exist- 
ing inscribed bells often bear such inscriptions as MARIA VOCOR, 
IOHANNES EST NOMEN MEV.M, and so on, which bear out this 

After such an imposing ceremony as this, a very considerable 
amount of sanctity attached to a church bell ; and it was no 
long step to accredit it with miraculous powers and perform- 
ances. The sound of the bell of Whitby Abbey at Hilda's death 
was heard at Hackness, near Scarborough {cf. p. 13), and if, as 
is probably the case, the bell was a small one, this could only 
be due to supernatural agency. That sound can travel a remark- 
ably long distance is borne out by the statement that the Don- 
caster tenor, weighing a ton, has been heard eleven miles away. 
There is also the story of the sentinel at Windsor hearing the 
bell of St. Paul's (p. 99). 

It was also believed that bells shivered and quaked at crimes 
or disasters. When Archbishop Becket was murdered, all the bells 
of Canterbury rang without being touched. When Grosseteste, 
Bishop of Lincoln, died in 1254, the bells of distant churches 
tolled of their own accord. And when little St. Hugh, the 
Lincoln martyr, was buried — 

A' the bells o' merrie Lincoln 

Without men's hands were rung ; 
And a' the books o' merrie Lincoln 

Were read without men's tongue ; 
And ne'er was sich a burial 

Sin' Adam's days begun. 

Bells which expressed themselves so strongly against crime 
were, as might be expected, natural enemies of thunderstorm, 
lightning, and plagues, as well as of evil spirits in general. It 
will be remembered how in the Golden Legend Lucifer and his 
attendant fiends endeavour to pull down and silence the bells 
of Strasburg Cathedral. Some of their many functions are 
described in the following lines (which Longfellow gives to the 
bells in the poem referred to) : — 

Laudo Deum verum, plebem voco, congrego clerum : 
Funera plango, fulgura frango, sabbata pango ; 
Defunctos ploro, pestem fugo, festa decoro ; 
Excito lentos, dissipo ventos, paco cruentos. 

1 Dugdale, Monasticon^vx. p. 250; cf. Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 462. 


As somewhat freely Englished in 1627 the) 7 run — 

Behold my uses are not small, 
That God to praise Assemblys call ; 
That break the thunder, wayle the Dead, 
And cleanse the Ayre of Tempests bred ; 
With feare keep off the Fiends of Hell, 
And all by vertue of my knell. 

It is therefore no matter for surprise that we have records 
of bells having been rung in times of storm and tempest. 1 In 
Old St. Paul's Cathedral there was a special endowment " for 
ringing the hallowed belle in great tempestes and lighteninges," 
and at Malmesbury St. Aldhelm's bell was always rung. 
Latimer in one of his sermons 2 says, " Ye know, when there was 
a storm or a fearful weather, then we rang the holy bells ; they 
were they that must make all things well." Unfortunately this 
is not always the case, for towers and bells have often been 
injured or destroyed by being struck by lightning and set on fire. 
At Sandwich in 1464 there is an item of bread and cheese 
for the ringers "in the gret thunderyng," and in 15 19 the 
churchwardens of Spalding paid ;i for ryngyng when the Tempest 
was iij d ." At Harwich a bell was formerly rung in stormy 
weather, and this appears to be the only instance of such ringing 
in recent times ; but at Strassburg the " recall " or " storm-bell " 
of the cathedral warns travellers in the plains that a storm is 
coming down from the Vosges. At Heighington, Durham, there 
is a bell inscribed 

©y ©e^Fje r?uiisf5©ys ^ei^yei^sos mmiGfi 

" Do thou, Peter, when rung, calm the angry waves." 

Besides their use as protecting against storm and tempest, 
bells were supposed to drive away plagues. This is indicated 
in the monastic lines already quoted {pestem fugo), and is also 
referred to in the inscription on one of the bells at Christchurch, 
Hants — 

yissis Fessiyys messes eiys y© FyG^s fisnys 

" May the Festal Lamb be near at hand (assis for assit) that He may of 
His goodness put plagues to flight." 

The power of bells against the Evil One is referred to by 
Latimer, in a sermon preached in Lincolnshire in 1553. He 

1 See North, English Bells, p. 172 ; T. Dyer, CJntrch Lore Gleanings, 

P- 77- 

2 Parker Society, p. 498. 


suggests that if bells really had any power against devils, Satan 
might soon be driven out of England by a general ringing of 
bells. 1 To this power there is also a reference in the inscription 
common on bells in Devonshire — 

\Docc mea viva fcepello cimcta nociva 

" With my living voice I drive away all hurtful things." 

We may conclude this section with some lines in the belfry 
at Gulval, Cornwall, of which the last six run : — 

" Who hears the bell, appears betime, 
And in his seat against we chime. 
Therefore I'd have you not to vapour, 
Nor blame y e lads that use the Clapper, 
By which are scared the fiends of hell, 
And all by virtue of a bell." 

Far different from the ceremonies just described, which, of 
course, came to an end with the Reformation in England, was 
the method in which new bells were profanely " christened " in 
the eighteenth century. Superstition, says Ellacombe, was only 
exchanged for indecorous convivial excess. Gilbert White tells 
us how such matters were managed at Selborne in 1735 '•" 
" the day of the arrival of this tunable peal was observed as a 
high festival by the village, and rendered more joyous by an 
order from the donor that the treble bell should be fixed, bottom 
upwards, in the ground, and filled with punch, of which all 
persons were permitted to partake." Similar proceedings went 
on at Gillingham, Kent, in 1700, at Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, in 
1750, 3 and at Canewdon, Essex, in 1791. 4 Dr Parr's new ring 
of bells given by him to his parish church of Hatton, Warwick- 
shire, in 1809, was honoured in the same style. 5 "The great 
bell ... is now lying upon our green. It holds more than 
seventy-three gallons. It was filled with good ale and was 
emptied, too, on Friday last. More than three hundred of my 
parishioners, young and old, rich and poor, assembled ; and their 
joy was beyond description. " Yet in the same breath the worthy 
Doctor could say, " My orthodoxy has endowed all the bells 
with scriptural appellations " ! 

A better state of things has since dawned, and it is now 
customary for new bells to be dedicated by the Bishop of the 
Diocese, with a reverent and appropriate ceremonial ; and suit- 

1 North, ('//. Bells of Lines., p. 239. 

2 Hist, of Selborne, 1789 cd., p. 321. 

3 Gatty, The Bell, p. 29. 

4 Benton, Hist, of Rochford Hundred^ i. p. 124. 

5 See his Memoirs, ii. p. 316. 


able hymns have been composed by Neale and other well-known 
writers. 1 

The practice of giving names to bells has never yet died out 
in popular usage. Most of the " great bells " of our cathedrals 
have names, such as Great Peter and Grandison of Exeter, 
Great Tom of Lincoln, and Great Paul of London. Tom of 
Christchurch, Oxford, and Big Ben of Westminster are also 
familiar examples. The tenor bell of Dewsbury church is 
known as Black Tom of Sothill. Other names are actual 
survivals from the past, such as " Old Gabriel " at Lewes and " Old 
Kate" at St. Mark's, Lincoln. At North Walsham, Norfolk, 
in 1583 a payment was made for "new casting the Gabrell," and 
at Lynn in 1673 "Bell Margaret" and "Bell Thomas" are 
mentioned. The Sanctus bell at Diss, Norfolk, used to be called 
the " Kay bell," probably a corruption of Gabriel. 2 

As we have already seen, bells were treated somewhat like 
human beings at baptism ; they had godfathers and godmothers 
who gave them names. These names or dedications of the 
ancient bells may be profitably compared with those of the 
churches themselves. It might be expected, and has indeed 
been asserted, 3 that on ancient bells the name of the patron 
saint of the church was placed on the tenor or largest bell ; and 
on the smaller ones perhaps the names of the saints whose altars 
were in the church below, or who were the patrons of the gilds 
or confraternities in the parish. Of this there are some undoubted 
examples. At Bartlow, Cambridgeshire, the church is dedicated 
to the Blessed Virgin, and the tenor bell has the inscription — 

Hempora jfukjura Bum flMilso S(en)esco fll>aria. 

"While I ring the seasons and storms I, Mary grow old." 

Similarly at Woolborough, Devon, the church and the tenor bell 
have the same dedication, to the Virgin Mary. At South 
Littleton, Worcestershire, where the church is dedicated to St. 
Michael, and there are two ancient bells out of three, the tenor 
is inscribed — 

pD LcpuDecQ ©ii^i^e CQi@r>fiGiJis do i^esQn^e 

" In praise of Michael I cause to sound loudly." 

Instances of the tenor, or even another bell, being dedicated 
to the patron saint, might be multiplied. Thus at South 
Somercotes, Lincolnshire, and at Brompton Patrick, Yorkshire, 

1 Cf Ellacombe, Bells of the Church, p. 272. 

2 North, English Bells, p. 43. 

3 North, Ch. Bells of Lincolnshire, p. 14. 


it is the treble that bears this dedication. The same is the case 
at one of the only two churches in England where a complete 
ring of five ancient bells remains, St. Bartholomew the Great, 
Smithfield, London (see p. 190). The church of St. Peter, West 
Cheap, London, had four new bells in 1450, of which the second 
was dedicated to the patron saint, the tenor to the Trinity, and 
the other two to St. Michael and the Virgin Mary. 1 Again, in 
the old ring of five bells cast for Dunmow Priory, Essex, in 1501, 
the fourth bell was the one selected for the patron saint. 
Another interesting instance which may be cited is at Dorchester, 
Oxon., where the church is dedicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, and 
St. Birinus. Here the seventh bell is inscribed — 

eesi^e, ©yis pB€i& Dp. e^yLce, syis cQisei^ei^i 

" Grant, Peter, an open door, grant, Paul, compassion to thy servants," 
the eighth or tenor — 

£F>o©eee, Blaine, qugs gghuggq ©u sine Fine 

" Protect for ever, Birinus, those whom thou summonest together," 

the three saints being thus conjointly honoured. 

Ear more numerous, however, are the cases where, though all 
or some of the ancient bells survive, none are dedicated to the 
patron saint. This is the case at Burlingham St. Andrew and 
St. Peter, Norfolk, both of which churches have complete rings 
of ancient bells. St. Lawrence, Ipswich, which has a complete 
ring of five old bells, is in like case. 

J. C. L. Stahlschmidt, who investigated this subject in 1886, 2 
made notes of 130 untouched mediaeval rings in the fifteen then 
published counties. He found only seventeen examples, in 
addition to those already named, where the dedication of the 
tenor coincided with that of the church. In thirteen more the 
treble coincided, in six others the second or third bell. In all 
other cases the dedications were all different. Further, he noted 
that the correspondence was more frequent in some counties 
than in others ; for instance, in Cumberland five dedications 
out of six corresponded, in Somerset only one in fifteen 

Again, if we take the whole of England, or indeed any given 
county, and compare the list of church dedications ;5 with those 
of the bells, we shall find on the whole a notable divergence 

1 Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, wiv. p. 258. 
"- Antiquary, xiii. p. 273. 

3 These may be found tabulated in the third volume of Miss Arnold- 
Forster's English Church Dedications. 


of practice. This will perhaps best be seen from the following 
comparative table : J — 

The Virgin Mary - 
All Saints - 
St. Peter 
St. Michael - 
St. Andrew - 
St. James 
St. John Baptist 
St. John Evangelist 
These two cannot always be distinguis 

St. Nicholas 

Holy Trinity 

St. Margaret 

St. Mary Magdalene 

St. Thomas-a-Becket 

St. Thomas Apostle 

Not always to be distinguished o 

St. Paul - 

St. Katherine 

St. Anne 

St. Augustine 

Second Person of Trinity - 

St. Gabriel - 

We see, then, that in each list the Virgin Mary stands easily 
first in point of popularity, her name on bells being nearly four 
times as common as that of St. John, the next on the list. On 
the other hand dedications to All Saints, so common in our 
churches, are very rare on bells. The Holy Trinity, St. Peter, 
St. Michael, St. Margaret, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Thomas 
hold, roughly speaking, about the same position in each list, 
almost in the order indicated. On the other hand, St. Andrew 
and St. James, fourth and sixth respectively in the list of the 
churches, come very low down in that of the bells, as does St. 
Nicholas. Ancient church dedications to the Second Person of 
the Trinity (usually Christ Church or St. Saviour) are very few 
in number, but owing to the popularity of certain formulae (see 
below, p. 272), the bell list shows a very different result. Among 
the other saints three of the most popular on bells are St. 
Katherine, St. Gabriel, and St. Anne ; but few are the ancient 
churches dedicated to these, especially to the two latter. For 

1 The numbers are throughout approximate, but near enough for our 
purpose. Many church dedications are doubtful, and we have not yet 
complete information as to the ancient bells of some counties. Modern 
dedications are of course excluded. 




1 148 











390 I 
240 j 


>n bells ; see p. 276 





80 | 


Is ; see p. 











the popularity of St. Gabriel and St. Katherine on bells there 
are special reasons, which are given below. It is further worth 
noting that such saints as St. Matthew, St. Philip, St. Barnabas, 
and SS. Simon and Jude are very rarely honoured in either 
case ; the number of ancient church dedications arc respectively 
33, 31, 13, and o; those found on bells are given below, p. 271. 
Another curious point that may be noted here is that in Norfolk 
about ten churches each are dedicated to St. Botolph, St. James, 
and St. Lawrence, but there is not a single bell dedication to 
any of them. 

The fact is, the churches received their dedications hundreds 
of years before any of the existing bells were placed in them ; 
the dedications of bells and church would therefore naturally 
tend to diverge. The minor altars, on the other hand, are 
usually much later than the original foundation of the church, 
and are therefore more likely to have influenced the dedication 
of bells. A large number of coincidences between the dedica- 
tions of bells and those of minor altars have been observed in 
Norfolk. Bells were doubtless also dedicated to the patron 
saints of parish gilds. 1 Another reason for divergence in the 
dedications is to be found in the circumstance that many bells 
had special functions, and would tend to be dedicated to the 
saints associated with those functions. When the custom grew 
up that at certain hours Christian people should say their Ave 
Maria, it was natural that the bell rung to remind them should 
be called the Angelus or Gabriel Bell (cf. p. 144). For it was 
Gabriel who was sent from God to a virgin named Mary, and 
who said unto her, Ave Maria benedicta tu in mulieribus. An 
ancient English inscription on a bell at Crofton, Yorks., clearly 
refers to verses 34-37 of St. Luke's narrative: "Then said Mary 
unto the angel, How shall these things be? . . . And the angel 
answered . . . With God nothing shall be impossible." The 
couplet runs — 

%\\ Q>ofo is al quofc Gabriel 

/.«•., "With God all is possible, quoth Gabriel/' 

Thus in Dorset, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and indeed most other 
counties, Gabriel has many bells, but not a single ancient church. 
Twenty ancient bells in Lincolnshire are dedicated to St. Gabriel 
and this number is only exceeded by the dedications (72) to the 
Blessed Virgin. Similarly in Norfolk and in Suffolk there are 
24 dedications to the Archangel, following 68 and 7 1 respectively 
to the Virgin. The dedication usually takes the form of a 
leonine hexameter — 

1 L'Estrange, C/i. Bells of Norfolk, p, 15. 



" I bear the name of Gabriel sent from heaven." 

Sometimes varied (by confusion with another verse) into " Dulcis 
sisto melis campana vocor Gabrielis"; which may be rendered 
" I am a bell of sweet sound ; I am called Gabriel." 

Again, when bells came to be rung by wheel and rope, it 
was natural to dedicate many to St. Katharine, who was broken 
on a wheel. She comes third in order of popularity, with over 
1 60 dedications in all England. The largest proportion are to 
be found in Essex, Kent, and Sussex, which counties have 
respectively twenty, eleven, and nineteen. This is mainly due 
to the fact that the London bell-founders, whose works are 
found in large numbers in those counties, seem to have been 
under the special protection of this saint. 1 In particular William 
and Robert Bur ford (1380- 1420) place on a good proportion of 
their bells " Sancta Katerina ora pro nobis." 2 Their con- 
temporary, William Dawe, and his successor, John Bird, are fond 
of the inscription — 

Sum 1Rosa pulsata /iDun&l Ikaterina Wocata 

" I Katharine, who am called the Rose of the World, am struck," 

but curiously enough the Burfords, when using this formula, 
always replace Katerina by Maria. The Norwich founders 
prefer the line — 

Subveniat Diana Donantitms t>aec IKaterina 

" May Katharine help according to her deserts the donors of this bell." 

In Lincolnshire we find the erratic hexameter (at Theddlethorpe 
St. Helen)— 

Caterina pia protegas nos a nece tmra 

" Catherine, of thy goodness save us from a hard death." 

And at Shapwick, Dorset, a pretty rhyming couplet in English 
runs — 

i ^©ei^y(n)e ggddgs Dei^LiynG ©o ©p?g(G) 


St. Barbara 3 was beheaded by her father for apostasy from 
Paganism ; whereupon he was himself struck dead by a flash of 

1 Cf. Stahlschmidt in Antiquary, xiii. p. 215. 
- Cf Deedes and Walters, Ch. Bells of Essex, p. 14. 

3 Only one church is dedicated to this saint (Beckford in Gloucester- 



lightning. In this way St. Barbara became a protectress against 
thunderstorms ; and it was natural to dedicate to her bells 
employed " fulgura frangere" and "dissipare ventos " {cf. p. 261). 
In East Anglia, where she was especially honoured, a common 
inscription is — 


(sc. DGLcei^I) 
"O Barbara, star of heaven, make our iniquities to be blotted out." 

She was also the patron of gunsmiths, and possibly this is why 
the Bury founders, who also made cannon (see p. 306), were fond 
of dedicating bells to her. 

And now we may proceed to discuss the bell dedications 
themselves, apart from their relation to church dedications. 
The table already given on p. 266 indicates the respective popu- 
larity of the saints most favoured, but it may be convenient to 
repeat it here in the other order : — 

I he \ lrgin Mary - 
St. John Baptist 

„ Evangelist 
St. Katharine 



2nd Pers. Trin. 


St. Gabriel - 


St. Peter 


St. Michael - 

■ 105 

St. Margaret- 
St. Anne 

- 90 

Holy Trinity - 

- 80 

St. Thomas 

- 80 

St. Andrew 

- 60 

St. Mary Magd. 

- 50 

St. Nicholas - 

- 46 

St. Augustine - 

- 43 

St. Paul - 

- 4i 

All Saints 

- 35 

St. James 

- 23 

No other saint has more than 16 dedications, except St. 
George, who has 32. As noted above (p. 266), this list cannot 
be exhaustive, as some counties have not yet been completely 
explored ; but this does not affect the relative numbers. 

This proportion may further be exemplified by taking a 
single county ; Lincolnshire, with its 353 ancient bells, is an 
instructive instance. Here we find no less than 72 dedicated 
to the Blessed Virgin, and then comes a long interval. St. 
Gabriel has 19, followed by St. John, St. Peter, and St. Katharine, 
with 15, 14, and 12 respectively. There are also 13 to the Holy 
Trinity, and the same number to the Second Person, but no 
other saint has more than 6. In Norfolk out of over 300 bells 
nearly 70 are dedicated to the Virgin, 24 to St. Gabriel, 19 to 
St. Peter, 14 to St. Margaret, 13 to St. Nicholas, 12 to St. 
Thomas, and 30 to the two St. Johns. 

In many cases the proportion depends on the devotion of a 
founder to some particular saint ; the London founders favour 
St. Katharine ; the Bristol founders St. Anne and St. George ; 


the Bury founders the Virgin Mary ; and so with others. Thus 
we find an exceptional proportion in Sussex and Essex dedi- 
cated to St. Katharine ; in Somerset to St. Anne ; and in York- 
shire and Derbyshire to the Trinity and to the Second Person, 
both being favourites with the Nottingham founders who supplied 
most of the bells in this district. 

It is further interesting to observe the usual dedications 
selected in the case of a complete ring of mediaeval bells, of 
which that at St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, with its 
untouched ring of five, all cast at the same time, is an excellent 
example. Here the treble, as noted above (p. 265), is dedicated 
to the patron saint ; the others to St. Katharine, St. Anne, St. 
John Baptist, and St. Peter respectively ; all with the simple 
formula ova pro nobis. A contemporary example from a monastic 
foundation of which we have record, is the priory of Little Dun- 
mow in Essex, 1 where the five bells were recast in 1501, and 
were dedicated as follows : — 

Prima in honore Sancti Michaelis Archangeli 

Secunda in honore Sancti Johannis Evangelistae 

Tertia in honore Sancti Johannis Baptistae 

Quarta in honore Assumptionis Beatae Mariae (the patron saint) 

Quinta in honore Sanctae Trinitatis et Omnium Sanctorum. 

In 1409 five new bells were placed in the Angel Tower at 
Canterbury Cathedral, of which the first or largest bore the 
name of the Trinity, the second that of Mary, the third that of 
the Archangel Gabriel, the fourth that of St. Blaise, and the fifth 
or smallest that of St. John the Evangelist. 2 In this case none 
are dedicated to Our Lord, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated, 
though there is a record that about 1360 one of the bells bore 
the name of Jesu. 

It is interesting to compare with the above a set of modern 
dedications, on a ring put up in one of the churches of the 
Gothic revival, St. Gabriel's, Pimlico, London, in 1854. There 
are eight bells, and each is dedicated in honour of one of the 
patron saints of the other churches in the mother-parish of 
St. George, Hanover Square. Thus the treble is dedicated to 
St. George, and the tenor to St. Gabriel, the patron of the 
church itself; the other six to St. Michael, St. Barnabas, St. 
Paul, St. Peter, All Saints, and the Virgin Mary respectively. 
Similar ascriptions arc to be found on modern bells at St. 
Paul's, Brighton, and Sowton, Devon. 

A list ma)- here be appended of some of the rarer saints, who 
appear on one or two bells at most. 

1 Dugdale, Monasticon, vi. p. 148. 2 Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 194. 



St. Aelred 
St. Agatha - 
St. Apol Ionia - 
St. Barnabas - 
St. Bega 
St. Blaise 
St. Brithunus- 
St. Britius 
St. Christina - 
St. Cletus 
St. Cornelius - 
St. Denys 
St. Ellinus 
St. Etheldreda 
St. Faith 
St. Hugh 
St. Illtyd 
St. Juliana 
St. Kenelm - 
St. Lambert - 
St. Lucy 
St. Martha - 
St. Matthew - 
St. Mungo - 
St. Osmund - 
St. Patrick - 
St. Petroc 
St. Philip 

St. Robert 

St. Sebastian - 

SS. Simon and Jude 

St. Swithin 

St. Tellant or Teilo 

St. Thaddaeus 

St. Tobias 

St. Tyssilio - 

St. Ursula 

St. William - 

St. Wul stan - 

Leake, Yorks. 

Castle Ashby, Northants ; Alciston, Sussex. 

Cambridge St. Botolph. 

St. Michael Carhayes, Cornwall. 

Houghton, Hunts. ; Ennerdale, Cumbd. 

Goring and Weston-on-Green, Oxon. 

Beverley St. John, Yorks. 

Brize Norton, Oxon. 

Broughton, Bucks. 

Ruscombe, Berks. ; Winchester St. Lawrence. 

Thorpe Arnold, Leics. 

Bream, Somerset ; Aswarby, Lines. 

Llanelly, Brecknock. 

Feltwell St. Nicholas and Morley, Norf. 

Tixover, Rutland ; Higham, Suffolk. 

Walton, Yorks. ; Kirkby Stephen, Westmd. 

Llantwit Major, Glamorgan. 

Steeple, Essex. 

Stoneleigh, Warw. ; Clifton-on-Teme, Worcs. 

Burneston, Yorks. 

Raveningham, Norf. ; Bathampton, Somerset. 

Carlton, Beds. 

Stickney, Lines. ; Denton, Norf. 

Castle Sowerby, Cumbd. 

Gt. Cheverell, Wilts. 

Brompton Patrick, Yorks. 

St. Petroc Minor, Cornwall. 

Molland Eotreaux, Devon ; Stocklinch Magdalen, 

Ipsley, Warwick. 
Hurley, Berks. 
Welton, Yorks. 
Sproatley, Yorks. 
Rhossilli, Glamorgan. 
Wing, Rutland. 
Holme, Notts. 
Newland, Worcs. 
Ryarsh, Kent. 
Haverland, Norf. 
Worcester Cathedral (now Didlington, Norf.). 

The Holy Innocents have three dedications (all in Lincoln- 
shire), as have St. Benedict, St. Dunstan, St. Edward, St. Mark 
St. Richard, St. Stephen, and St. Wilfrid ; St. Ambrose, St. 
Clement, St. Oswald, and St. Vincent have four apiece. A 
unique dedication to the Four Evangelists is at Wolston, 

Many of the dedicatory inscriptions on bells are quaint 
and interesting, as others are very beautiful. Of the latter 
a rare instance is an invocation of God the Father at Thornton 
Curtis in Lincolnshire — 




" Thou that art peerless God, make us sound sweet to Thee." 

But addresses to the First Person of the Trinity are com- 
paratively rare, as are those to the Third Person. At Kemble 
in Wilts., however, we find — 

.Sancti ©piritus assit nobis oracia 

" The grace of the Holy Spirit be with us " ; 
at St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall — 

j^pirttus Sanctus est ^Deus 

"The Holy Spirit is God" ; 

and at Brewood, Staffordshire, the two first lines of the well- 
known hymn — 

ueni ©"^e^soi^ s^ii^isys menses suoi^ucq 


Much more common are those to the Second Person of the 
Trinity, numbering some 160 in all. Some early bells have 
merely the name ICSUS ; and others of sixteenth-century date 
the abbreviated form ibC (IHS), often in conjunction with the 
name of the Virgin or another saint. The most popular form 
of address on bells of all periods and from all foundries, 
especially those of the Midlands, is the superscription on the 
Cross — 

15s n^z^Fjenus i^ex iudgofjug) 

sometimes with the addition — 

pirn Dei oisei^ei^e ©ei. 

Another form of address favoured by the Midland founders is — 

(STelorum Mpe placeat tibi ^lc£ sonus istc 

"Christ, Heaven's King, be pleased with this ring." 

In post-Reformation times the former was the favourite in- 
scription of the well-known Leicester founder, Hugh Watts 
( 1 6 1 5-1643), from which his bells came to be known as " Watts' 
Nazarenes " (p. 245). 

Dedications to the Holy Trinity are also very common. 
A frequent formula, specially favoured by the Nottingham 
founders, was the hexameter — 


^imitate Sacra Fiat i >_acc c.rampana J3eata 

" May this bell be sanctified by the Holy Trinity." 

In their efforts to reconcile metre and rhyme we sometimes get 
the equally unsuccessful variations — 

~Mcc <§Tampana sacra ;i-iat Trinitatc PSeata 
.Sacra 7i:rinitate x-iat i>_ec (Tampana Ucata 

The Bury St. Edmunds founders have another form of address — 

<sreii ;E>et XHunus <aui riconat TCrtnus et mnus 

" May He that reigns Three in One give us the gift of heaven." 

But for some occult reason the word Trinus is often omitted. 
Roger Landen of Wokingham (c. 1480- 1490) was sometimes 
guilty of a curious theological error. At Chiddingfold in Surrey 
we find — 

.Sancta ^Trinitas Ora ^ro Xlobis 

and the same occurs on a bell at Hordley in Shropshire. The 
correct formula is of course " Sancta Trinitas miserere nobis " 
(or " mei "). 

Next come dedications to the Angelic Order, of whom we 
have already dealt with the Archangel Gabriel, as specially 
connected with bells. Hardly less numerous are those to the 
other Archangel Michael, some 100 in all. A favourite senti- 
ment is that expressed in a shockingly bad hexameter — 

jEntonat 3De <£Tclis ~Wo£ (STampana £Qtcbadis 

"The voice of the bell of Michael thunders from heaven," 

at St. Bartholomew the Less, London. On a bell by the same 
founder at Cople, Beds., we have an unusual line (equally hope- 
less as regards the scansion) — 

^FiDelis £Qe(n)suris ;r>omcn Gampana ^Qfcbaclts 

"(I am) a bell with the name of Michael, faithful in my measurements." 

St. Raphael is referred to on another Bedfordshire bell, at 
Wymington ; here the metre is an improvement — 

jdlusa Xlafaclis sonat Nimbus ;ii.mmanuclis 

" The music of Raphael sounds in the ears of Emmanuel." 

That St. Michael was recognised as the guardian of departing 
souls (and thus perhaps appropriately associated with the 
passing bell) is implied by a bell formerly at Taddington, 
Derbyshire — 


(sUSSOS nOSSFJ^Uffl fflKSr^GLc I© DUX fmifflfU^Uffl 

" Michael goes as guide and guardian of our souls ;" 

and another at St. Michael's, Worcester — 

g^udg fflKSF^eii irxihi&e i^i^disi ei^ei?osi©e 

"Rejoice, illustrious Michael, guardian of Paradise." 
Dedications to All Saints are fairly numerous, as — 

or less specifically — 

Sanctorum xa^eritts ^angamus <§rantica Baucis 

"By the merits of the saints let us strike up songs of praise," 

^iec Mtt Sanctorum ©rampana ;i&au&e ^Qonorum 

" Let this bell be made in praise of the good saints." 

At Bradford, Somerset, and Talaton, Devon, the invocation is 
varied — 

s^ft@©i ©onpessoi^es oi^se i^i^o robis 

Among other compound dedications may be mentioned that 
at Tarrant Hinton, Dorset — 

Mixnt mibi spes bi tires ^pe XHaria lobes 

" My hope is in these three, Christ, Mary, John." 

This refers to the circumstance that on every rood-beam was 
a statue of Christ flanked by those of the Blessed Virgin and St. 
John the Evangelist. Another is at Great Waltham, Essex, a 
pentameter of little merit — 

" Preserve this bell, O Christ, Mary, and Thomas." 

As already noted, the dedications to the Blessed Virgin are 
relatively as numerous as those of churches ; and the variety of 
the forms of address is equally noteworthy. North has collected 
no less than seventy examples. 1 The commonest form is naturally 
the Angelic Salutation, varying from the simple fiUG fflfll^Ifl 

$3UG ffifil^Ifi GFtfHalfl EliGRp 

or the same with the addition of DOffllRUS ©G@yffl, and 
occasionally of 

BeneDi©©^ ©u in ffiuiiiepjiBus. 

1 English Bells and Bell-Lore, p. 29. 


We also find many varieties of leonine hexameters, some of 
which scan quite satisfactorily, as, for instance — 

r?e@ m Li^yDe me i^esone© ©^ffii^np cq^ig 

"Let this bell resound in praise of Holy Mary." 

oi^p coense mp si^o hgbis uirgo cq^W 

"From thy kind heart pray for us, O Virgin Mary." 

" Mary, Star of the Sea, Most Holy, help us." 

The next three are marred by the short a at the caesura, but 
this hardly amounts to a metrical error in leonines — 

©i^osese eui^ mfi ouos @onuo@o uii^go cq^fji^ 

" Protect those whom I call together, Mary, pure and holy Virgin." 

SUffl I^OSfl L?UIiSp©fI ffiUODI <Hy^I^ UO(gyl©^ 
" I that am rung am called Mary, rose of the world." 

" Crowned Virgin, lead us to realms of bliss " 

(this last used only by the Bury St. Edmunds founders). 

On the other hand, the following line has an undoubted false 
quantity — 

UI^GiniS CGI^GGie UOCsOFfc Gfimvfin^ infuse 

" I am called the bell of Mary the excellent Virgin." 

The next instance probably owes its popularity to its allitera- 
tion — 

i?m^ mjDKSyi mp (Hisci^is cQisei^ei^e ffl^W 

" Pity us wretched ones, Mary, pure, chaste, and holy." 

At Stower Provost, Dorset, are two lines from the well- 
known hymn — 

flUC fflfll^IS SSGLxLcfl D€I fflpSI^IS ylLcfflyl 
" Hail, Star of the Sea, kind Mother of God." 

Next in popularity come St. John, St. Peter, and St. Andrew 
among the Apostles. One of the commonest hexameters found 
on bells addresses the first-named — 

m cqulcSis (or esei^nis) pnnis i^esone© a^m^n^. 


" May the bell of John resound for many years " (or " for eternity "). 


It is indeed most likely that (as with the churches) most of the 
dedications to St. John refer to the Baptist. Sometimes, how- 
ever, the latter is specifically named, as at Halford, Warwick — 

^gios in r^onoi^e ior^nms b^sissg sum 
i^enou^sfi ] 

"Consecrated in honour of John the Baptist, I am made anew." 
But the following must refer to the Evangelist — 

XMMstedis sacns repleat nos bca lobannis- 

" May the teaching of John fill us with sacred mysteries" 
(an inscription peculiar to the Exeter foundry, see p. 197). 

io^finnes ©p^issi (g^e Dien^e ei^o hobis 

"John the beloved of Christ, deign to pray for us," 

or in a simpler form pfflKsG XBI IGF^nftGS. 

The formula IO^^RneS CSS nOfflGR GIUS (or fflGI) 
naturally suggests the Baptist, with reference to Luke i. 63. At 
Buckhorn Weston, Dorset, the founder had a complete hexameter 
in CQULfSIS flftHIS, etc., but that there might be no mistake 
he added the word BfII?©IS©e. At Grayingham, Lincolnshire, 
the author sinks into prose rather than run the risk of ambiguity : — 

issjri @fiff)©fiRfi s^rc<s©i iGF>yinnis etOyinGeiJisse. 

St. Peter also was a great favourite. A correct hexameter 
used by the Norwich founders (who were seldom offenders in 
this respect) runs — 

;e>etrus MS Eterne ;©ucat Mos ^>ascua ~Wite 

" May Peter lead us to the pastures of life eternal." 
Another passable one (at Droitwich St. Peter, Worcestershire) is — 

©eixi efinDe poises hobis eesi^e noBimoFjes 

" Open to us the nobler gates of heaven, O Peter." 

On the other hand the following, at Claxby, Lincolnshire, is in 
every way inferior — 

yaomen JPctvi M.cvo <&x\i ® lavugcr ;E£tat in Mvo 

" I bear the name of Peter who bears the keys for all time." 

1 A unique instance of the use of the Greek word aytos for sanctus (or 
rather in this case sancta). 

2 Dca appears to be an abbreviation of doctrina. 


Another allusion to the power of the keys is on one of the old 
bells at Beverley Minster — 

soiiue iyBense dgo ©ei^^ycQ eesi^e (Sfi^en^s 
qui Fficgis u© gfisepR© <§fieiies©ifi Fjecnfi 


" Loose at God's bidding the chains of earth, O Peter, who dost throw 
open to the blessed the kingdom of heaven." 

The following bell, at Twineham, Sussex, appears to have 
been recast — 

~Moc mifoi tain retro nomen oe Simone X^etro 

" Here I am again rechristened Simon Peter" 
which appears in another form at Scarcliffe, Derbyshire — 

Kic yfcnio ^Bietro ©"urn ^ilis ~Moie X^etro. 1 

At Dorchester, Oxon. (p. 265), and at Myddle, Shropshire, he is 
associated with St. Paul ; at the latter place the ascription is — 

eesi^ys ^eossoLcys e© epuiius docssoi^ 

" Peter the Apostle and Paul, the teacher of the Gentiles." 

To St. Andrew the Norwich founders give the following 
dedication — 

OMaesumus Mnbtca Hamulorum suscipe ~Wota 

"We pray thee, Andrew, receive the prayers of thy servants." 
A similar aspiration in English occurs at Priston, Somerset — 

F^eiji? oys ^rdi^u me biddi ©5ye eyi^e bij fofj 

ye ©ionise-' 

" Help us, Andrew, we pray thee ever before the Trinity." 

At St. Andrew, Worcester, the old bell is dedicated to the 
patron saint by a local donor as follows — 

Fe(§i© in r?Gnoi^effl wyuueij DiGnum sibi 


"This surely blessed bell Wylley made in honour of St. Andrew, a worthy 
honour for himself." 

1 Silis is unintelligible, but may be a misreading for sctis= Sanctis, Si. the 
saints to whom the other bells were dedicated. 

2 "Bid" is here in its old sense of "pray"; cf. "bidding-prayer" and 
Germ, beten. 


St. Augustine, more probably the English bishop than the 
African theologian, is invoked almost exclusively by London 
founders of the fifteenth century — 

~Woz (or TZtfoj) idugustini sonct in ^5.ure M>ci 

" May the voice of Augustine sound in the ear of God." 

St. Thomas of Canterbury probably has many more bells 
than the Apostle, as is the case with the churches ; but no 
apparent distinction is made. The Norwich founders again 
have a correct hexameter — 

'Mos Wbomc ^Clentis £Qereamur ©anfcia T^ucis 

" By the merits of Thomas may we deserve the joys of light " (sc. "heaven"). 

Another curious one is at Madingley, Cambridgeshire, where 
the founder was evidently hard up for a rhyme to Thomas — 

" I am called Thomas ; my sound, O man, is the praise of Christ." 

A very inferior verse was inscribed on the predecessor of 
Great Tom of Christchurch, Oxford, said to have come from 
Osney Abbey (see p. 100) — 

m Sr?G<x>e LifiyDe i^esono bkqboo) sine fi^udg 

" In praise of Thomas I resound Bim Bom full clearly." 

The last two words are obvious padding, and can hardly be 
rendered literally so as to make sense. 

St. Nicholas of Myra, as we have seen, has relatively more 
churches than bells. A good dedication is recorded from an 
old bell at Clerkenwell St. James, London ; it also occurs on 
a Norwich bell at North Burlingham St. Peter, Norfolk — 

<D ^>resul ¥>ic ^licholac ^Hobis Miserere 

" O holy guardian" (or "patron") " Nicholas, have mercy on us." 

Two more efforts of the Norwich founders, both to the same 
effect, are— 

nos socsie© s¥is seocieei^ nic^oi^us in ^iiSis 

" May Nicholas unite us for ever to the Saints on high " 
(Newton-by-Castle Acre). 

Junaere ^.os erbrtsto stufceat ^licbolaus in M-ito 

" May Nicholas strive to unite us to Christ on high " 
(Petistree and Playford, Suffolk). 


Several bells cast by the Bury founders in honour of their 
patron saint, St. Edmund, have the hexameter, scandalously bad 
alike in prosody and syntax — 

iTm'itts ,E.bmunfci .j^'imus M. < uimmc .(lumfci 

" By the merits of Edmund may we be (absolved) from worldly sin." 

One of the first bells put up in the Abbey Church at Hun-, the 
work of Magister Hugo in the twelfth century (see p. 17), was 
also dedicated to the patron saint, as the inscription already 
given shows. 

Another saint whose popularity is worth, noting is St. Mary- 
Magdalene. For her the Norwich prosody utterly breaks 
down — 

i^ona Ftepenfce Pia XzIoqo GQaofcalena xnaria 

" Repay us with pious gifts, O Mary Magdalene, I pray." 
Another form used by London founders is 

.n.omen cTUaofcalene (?ampana ©erit .melo&ie 

which is hardly translatable, though the sense is clear. 

St. Margaret of Antioch is a very popular saint in bell 
dedications, especially in Norfolk and Suffolk, where she has 
fourteen and thirteen dedications respectively ; it was supposed 
that the donor of such bells might hope for some of the 
indulgence promised to those who built a church in her name. 
The commonest form in which her name occurs is — 

Eac .cuaroareta ^Hobis Mcc xnunera i^cta 

" O Margaret, make these tasks joyful to us." 

St. Giles was the patron of blacksmiths, and his name occurs 
in Norfolk and elsewhere in a shocking hexameter — 

^onitus K.oiMi j^.scenMt Mb crulmtna ecu 

"The sound of (the bell) Giles ascends to the heights of heaven," 

but he is only commemorated on about a dozen bells. St. 
Anthony the Hermit was well known by his emblems, the pig 
and bell {cf. p. 122) ; he has about nine dedications, four of them 
in Yorkshire. At Winthorpe in Lincolnshire is an execrable 
verse, whether it be intended for hexameter or pentameter — 

j^Lntonius xnonct x-Jit csrampana X3cne sonet 

"Anthony bids the bell sound well." 


Another saint who may be mentioned here is St. Christopher, 
whose gigantic figure usually stood in fresco on the wall facing 
the principal entrance to the church. He has about seven 
dedications, one of which, at Shapwick, Dorset, runs (from an 
old Latin hymn) — 

iiiiio neffi^e dig nuiiijo L^nGoi^G gi^ugsui^ 

" Whosoever looks on the face (bell) of St. Christopher, on that day will 
he be neither sick nor sorry." 

1 The original word is speciem (image), but the necessary alteration has 
ruined the hexameter. 


THE ornamentation of man)- of the ancient bells, and even 
of some of later date, is exceedingly beautiful. Even if a 
tinker by trade, the bell-founder took a real pride and joy in his 
work. His trade-mark, his initial cross, the word-stops, the 
lettering itself, frequently rise to a very high artistic level. This 
is, of course, mainly true of mediaeval bells, but even in the 
seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries some founders were 
not destitute of taste, and adorned their bells with rich and 
varied ornamental borders, or made use of devices which had come 
down to them from earlier times. The lettering of this period is 
also frequently excellent of its kind, even if unpretending. 

To deal first with the last-named subject, we find on 
mediaeval bells, from the beginning of the fourteenth century 
onwards, two varieties of lettering, Gothic capitals and black- 
letter "smalls." The latter are used by themselves, or more 
frequently combined with initial Gothic capitals ; this style is 
known as " Mixed Gothic." The use of capital letters through- 
out is universal throughout the fourteenth century, and no 
instances of black-letter type can be traced further back than 
about 1400. Though on the Continent it came earlier into use 
for inscriptions, it is seldom found anywhere in England before 
that date, except on a few brasses, 1 and these appear to be 
foreign importations. But even in England its introduction on 
bells was never general, and man}- founders, especially those 
of the Midlands, adhered to the old style down to the Reforma- 
tion. And in other cases there was a revival of capitals in the 
sixteenth century. 

The earlier Roman or Saxon capitals, which were replaced 
by Gothic towards the end of the thirteenth century, are now 
hardly represented in England, as there are not more than two 
existing inscribed bells which go back to a date anterior to 
1290. These are the unique bell at Caversfield, Oxon., already 

1 St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford (1349) ; Aveley, Essex (1370). 



described (p. 21), and one at Marton-cu'm-Grafton, Yorkshire, 
which is inscribed in Roman letters — 

and appears to date from the thirteenth century. The inscrip- 
tion on the old bell at Chaldon, Surrey (19), which is probably 
earlier than 1300, is much more Gothic than Roman in character, 
and one at Goring in Oxfordshire, which can be dated about 1290, 
is in good and fully-developed Gothic letters. On the other 

Lettering used by Geoffrey de Edmonton (1300) 

Lettering used by Stephen Norton of Kent 

hand, the bell of 1296 at Claughton (p. 22) has a sort of mixed 
type, the C being the only genuinely Gothic letter. But certain 
survivals of the use of Roman letters may be noted. An early 
bell at Bristol Cathedral combines a Roman E with Gothic letters; 
one formerly at Billericay, Essex (p. 185), dating about 1305, 
had a characteristic Roman M and N l ("282) ; and a Roman T is 
used by more than one founder down to the end of the fourteenth 
century and even later. But these are mere exceptions. 

Some of the earlier London founders use very effective sets 

1 Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells, pi. 5. 





!8 4 


of Gothic lettering which are full)' illustrated in Stahlschmidt's 

book on Surrey Bells} Another good alphabet (282) is that of 
Stephen Norton of Kent (1 363-1 381),- which was subsequently 
adopted by London founders of the fifteenth century. Specially 
worthy of mention are the beautiful and highly-ornamented 
letters on bells from an unknown local foundry in Lincolnshire, 
of which admirable engravings by Mr Orlando Jewitt were given 
in North's book (283 ; p. 205). 3 There are eleven bells of this type 
in the aforesaid county, two at South Somercotes being dated 
in 1423, another at Somerby 143 1. Copies of this lettering were 
made by the Taylors of Loughborough, and have been used by 
them on their bells at Worcester Cathedral and elsewhere. 

V-£ W w- 

Lettering from bell at Exhall, Warwickshire 

Another fine set, of the middle of the fourteenth century, was 
used by a Leicester founder on bells in that and adjoining 
counties, 4 and subsequently by the Newcombes in the sixteenth 
century (285). They are double-lined letters, the spaces being 
filled in with rich ornamentation like diaper-work. A third 
typical set of Midland counties lettering, but by an unknown 
founder, was formerly on a bell at Exhall, Warwickshire 
(284). Thomas Potter of Norwich (1404) used a very elaborate 

1 See also Deedes and Walters, Essex, pis. 1-3 ; another is illustrated in 
Chap. viii. ('185). 

- See op. cit., pis. 5, 6. :! Ch. Bells of Lines., pis. 9-13. 

4 Tilley and Walters, Ch. Bells of Warw., pi. 8. 



Lettering used by Henry Jordan of London (about 1460; 



alphabet, in which the letters 
are filled in with grotesque 
figures and other devices, like 
a child's fancy alphabet (289). 
There is a specimen at Great 
Plumstead, Norfolk. 1 Two 
very fine sets of large letters 
were used by Robert Burford 
and William Wodewarde of 
London (1400- 1420), the 
former being found only as 
initials in "mixed Gothic" 
inscriptions ' 2 (290). Another 
handsome alphabet was used 
by a Bristol founder of about 
1450 at Yate, Gloucs., and 
Yatton, Somerset. 

Many mediaeval founders 
ornamented their letters by 
placing crowns over them ; 
these are found on bells from 
the foundries at Wokingham 
and Salisbury, and some- 
times on London-made bells ; 
also on Stephen Norton's 
bells, and on some of un- 
known origin in Dorset. 

Black-letter inscriptions 
do not call for much remark ; 
perhaps the most elaborate 
specimens of these letters are 
to be found on two similar 
bells at Scarrington, Notts., 
and Thorne, Yorks. 3 As al- 
ready noted, the London and 
other founders of the fifteenth 
century, such as Henryjordan 
(287), used "mixed Gothic" 
or black-letter with Gothic 

Mention should also be 

1 L'Estrange, Norfolk, p. 191. 

2 Cocks, /links., pis. 9, 13. 

:J Poppleton in Yorks. Arch. 
Journ.) xvii. pi. 11. 




made here of the inscriptions in a curious sort of manuscript 
or cursive type found on bells at Worcester St. Michael and 
Grimley, Worcs. (p. 200), which are dated respectively 1480 and 
1482, the dates and sundry names being placed in these char- 
acters below the main inscription-band. The letters are only 

London 15th century capitals (W. Wodewarde) 

Lettering of William Oldfield of Canterbury (about 1550) 

slightly raised, and not produced in the ordinary way, but 
engraved in the mould. Another inscription in peculiar type 
is at Greystoke, Cumberland, the letters being vague and ill 
formed. 1 

1 Trans. Climb, and Westm. Arch. Soc, xi. p. 141. 






Arabic numerals 1 are not found on bells before the end of 
the fifteenth century. They occur on a bell at Durham Castle, 
dated 1495, at St. Mary Bredin, Canterbury (lb*b= 1505), and 
at Isleham, Cambs. (1516), the figures here being quite of the 
modern form. At Rayleigh in Essex a bell by Thomas Bullisdon 
(p. 190) has on the shoulder 3bllS, which might represent 1508, 
about which time the bell was cast, but this is not likely. At 
Leaden Roothing in the same county we have a 11)23, and on 
bells by the Tonnes at Stanstead and Felstead, 1540 and 1546 
in similar figures, as also at Wood Ditton, Cambs. (1544). After 
1560 Arabic numerals become the recognised form for dates. 

In the period immediately succeeding the Reformation 
( 1 550-1600) a great variety of usage prevailed, but the majority 
of founders adhered to one or other of the old styles, and Roman 
lettering was slow to establish its position. It, however, occurs 
as early as 1560 at Stanton All Saints, Suffolk, and was invari- 
ably used by Stephen Tonne of Bury St. Edmunds (1 559-1 587), 
and by John Wallis of Salisbury (1 578-1624). Some founders 
of this time adopt a sort of quasi-Gothic alphabet of capitals, 
examples of which may be found on bells by William Oldfield 
of Kent (290), by the Newcombes of Leicester, by Atton of 
Buckingham (291), and by Robert Mot of London. Others 
again, as Appowell of Buckingham (291), and sometimes the 
Leicester and Reading founders,' 2 use a sort of ornamental but 
vaguely-formed lettering, the inscriptions being quite devoid 
of sense. With the opening of the seventeenth century Roman 
lettering becomes more general, but many founders, such as 
the Brends of Norwich, Henry Oldfield of Nottingham (250), 
and Hugh Watts of Leicester, still prefer the Gothic or black- 
letter styles, which retain their popularity down to the end of 
James I.'s reign, or even later. 

The Civil War practically marks the introduction of universal 
Roman lettering, and after 1640 the older styles are quite the 
exception. We find, however, bells of 1641 in Dorset, 1651 in 
Hants, and 1652 in Wilts., with a mixture of Gothic, black-letter, 
and Roman, the founder having bought up or inherited some 
older alphabets, which he preferred to utilise. Samuel Knight 
of Reading uses Gothic capitals at Waltham St. Laurence in 
1681 and black-letter at Wokingham in 1703, and in 1699 a 
founder of Wellington, Salop, breaks out at Boningale in the 
latter style.-' 5 But the most noteworthy instance is at the 

1 See on this subject Archaeologia, lxii. p. 137 ff., esp. p. 177. 

2 Cf. Cocks, Bucks., p. 188, pi. 27, and Tilley and Walters, Warwick, 
pi. 15." 

■■ Shropsh. Arch, Soc, Trans., 3rd Ser., vni. p. 17. 





Nottingham foundry, which, after substituting Roman for earlier 
lettering about 1620, suddenly revives the old style about the 
end of the century, using black-letter smalls with a set of fine 
Gothic initials derived from their mediaeval predecessors (292). 
Examples are at North Collingham, Notts., and Spilsby, Lincoln- 
shire. Again, as late as 1742 at Mickleover, Derbyshire, we find 
Thomas Hedderly of Nottingham using the mediaeval capital 
letters which originally belonged to the fourteenth-century 
founders, Derby and Rufford (p. 194), and which came to 
Nottingham in the sixteenth century from Worcester. The 
use of these stamps thus extends over four hundred years, 
though not continuously. 

Some of the Roman alphabets of the seventeenth century are 
exceedingly effective and well designed (294), notably that used 
by Henry Farmer of Gloucester and Thomas Hancox of Wal- 
sall (252). Other founders, especially in the early part of the 
century, adopt a curious style of flat sprawling letters in very 
low relief, which do not appear to have been cut in the ordinary 
way, but impressed into the mould from sheets of tin. These 
are used by the Purdues of Taunton and Bristol, and by several 
itinerating founders in Sussex, and were probably adopted by 
the latter as being easier to produce and manipulate. 

In the eighteenth century we find good plain alphabets used 
by Phelps and Lester of London, Henry Penn of Peterborough, 
and the Rudhalls of Gloucester. The only use of Roman 
" minuscules " or " lower-case " letters on bells are on those of 
Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove and Luke Ashton of Wigan. 
But for the exceptions already noted, fancy types are now 
unknown ; the only other instance is on the bells of Cor of 
Aldbourne, Wilts., who uses for initials large fancy letters of a 
somewhat foreign type (311). 

Towards the middle of this century a great change takes 
place, and the founders, especially those of London, adopt a 
much severer if more up-to-date style, corresponding to the 
printing types with which we are familiar. These have prevailed 
almost exclusively throughout the nineteenth century, except 
where the Gothic revival has brought about a reaction in favour 
of mediaeval styles. But these when introduced in our own 
day have usually been of a feeble and ineffective kind ; one of 
the best exceptions was William Blews of Birmingham, whose 
Gothic lettering was quite passable. 

But the founder was rarely content to place on his bell a 
simple inscription without any further ornament, and this, if 
universally true of mediaeval founders, is hardly less true of 




J. de Yorke (1400) 

J. Bird (1420) 

Worcester (1480) J. Tonne (1520-40) A. Bracker (1555) 

Nottingham (about 1500) 

W. Rufford (1380- 1 400) 



Cross used by J. Danyell 1460) 

those of the seventeenth and 
even the eighteenth century. 
The mediaeval inscriptions 
are invariably headed by an 
initial cross of plain or elabo- 
rate design ; we find the 
heraldic cross fleurie, moline, 
patonce, and all the other 
varieties for which names have 
been found, as well as plain 
Greek or Maltese crosses, and 
others of more elaborate 
design, composed of four 
fleurs-de-lys or other devices. 
Detailed description is impos- 
sible, but specimens will be 
found in the accompanying 

illustrations (296). Perhaps the most elaborate are those used by 
John Danyell of London (1450-1465), one of which is contained 
in a double circle, in which are the words ibll HierCl laM belp 
(297). 1 The other (297) is of rarer occurrence, but is also 

a very beautiful de- 
sign, and may be 
compared with those 
on the coins of the 
fourteenth century. 
It occurs at Win- 
grave, Bucks., and 
West Monckton, 
Somerset ; also on a 
bell from Worcester 
Cathedral now at 
Didlington, Norfolk, 
and on the old tenor 
at King's College, 
Cambridge. 2 

Between the 

words of a mediaeval 

inscription areusually 

stops, of a simpler 

Cross used by J. Danyell (1460) and less varied kind, 

1 These were often placed at the head of mediaeval documents, such as 
churchwardens' accounts, like the later " Emmanuel." 

2 Cocks, Bucks., p. 35 ; Assoc: Archit, Soc. Reports, xxv. p. 576 ; Raven, 
Cambs., p. 27. 



Stops used by John Tonne (1520-1540) 

ranging from the simple three dots vertically placed which occur 
on early fourteenth-century bells, to those of a more elaborate 
nature used by the different foundries, such as John Tonne's 
trefoil and fleur-de-lys (298). The Brasyers of Norwich used a 
lion's head or mask in the middle of their rhyming inscriptions, to 

mark the " caesura " ; 
Hendley of Glouces- 
ter and the Bristol 
founders used a 
crown of various 
forms (298); and 
others, as at Bury St. 
Edmunds (208), an 
oblong ornamental 
device. Stops are, 
however, more com- 
monly found with in- 
scriptions wholly in 
capitals, where a 
marked distinction between the words was more imperatively 

On many bells in the Eastern and Midland counties the 
stops are in the form of heads of kings and queens ; the history 
of these stamps has a special interest. 
The reason for the adoption of these 
devices on bells is unknown, but they 
go back to the middle of the four- 
teenth century, and it is worth noting 
that in the reign of Edward I. a pair 
of heads, often those of a king and 
queen, formed a common termination 
of a dripstone over a church door or 
window. Some have seen in them an 
evidence of some special Royal privi- 
lege, and this may have been originally 
the case, as we know that one of the 
earliest founders who used them was 
appointed a Royal bell-founder to 
Edward III. in 1367. But their 
original significance must have been 

lost, for we find these stamps subsequently used by other 
founders at Worcester, Nottingham, and elsewhere, in several 
succeeding centuries. The stamps alluded to are supposed to 
represent Edward III. and his queen Philippa, and there are two 
varieties of each head (299), both of which have a curious history. 

Crown used by Bristol 



These stamps are first found on two apparently contemporary 
groups of bells, one cast at Lynn about 1350, the other at 
Toddington in Bedfordshire by John Rufford the aforesaid 
Royal bell-founder, and his son William (1 365-1400). We next 
find one set at Nottingham, where they are used on mediaeval 
bells cast in the fifteenth century, while the other went to 
Worcester, where they occur on a group of bells which there 

about 1410. 1 They were also used 

is evidence for dating 
occasionally by later 
Worcester founders 
down to about 1 540, and 
shortly afterwards found 
their way to Notting- 
ham, where they appear 
in place of the other set 
on bells dating between 
1580 and 1600. Mean- 
while the first set are 
found on bells of the 
period cast by the New- 
combes at Leicester. 
For about two centuries 
we lose sight of both 
sets, but they appear to 
have been unearthed 
from the Nottingham 
founders' stores towards 
the end of the eighteenth 
century, and are used 
by Hedderly of that 
town on bells dated 
1 786- 1 788 in Derbyshire 
and Lincolnshire. 
Meanwhile the second 

or Worcester set made one more and final migration, this time 
to Hertford, where they were used by John Briant to adorn a 
bell in his peal cast in 1806 for Waltham Abbey. The history 
of these stamps is an excellent proof of the uncertainty of bell- 
marks as criteria of date. 

There is yet another set of these heads (300) whose life 
was much shorter. They appear on one group of bells, cast at 
Worcester about 1480 by an unknown, perhaps monastic, founder 
(see above, p. 201). These heads represent King I lenry VI. and 
his queen Margaret of Anjou, and their son Prince Edward, 
1 Arch.Journ.j lxiii. p. 187. 

Royal Heads (Edward III. and Philippa) 



slain at Tewkesbury. Bells of this type are only found in Wor- 
cestershire and Shropshire. There are, however, two or three 
of later date (1605) in Gloucestershire, 1 on which the same 
stamps occur, but here again the name of the founder into 
whose hands they fell is unknown, as also the locality in which 
he lived. Besides the Royal Heads we find in this group other 
devices used as stops : a lion's face, a fleur-de-lys, and a 
grotesque winged figure (201). 

Ornamental borders of foliage or arabesques between the 
words or on other parts of the bell are hardly ever found on 
mediaeval bells. The only instances known to the writer are 
on the tenor at Hereford Cathedral (about 1450), a bell at 
Bintry, Norfolk (about 1530), and a bell at Nettleton, Wilts, 
(about 14 10). But after the Reformation they were regularly 
adopted by many founders, especially in the Midlands. Usually 
they fill in the spaces between the words (taking the place of 

Royal Heads (Henry VI., Margaret, and Edward) 

the stop), and varying in length according to the length of the 
inscription. Some founders also place bands of ornament round 
the bell immediately above or below the inscription, or round 
the sound-bow. 

These borders first come into general use at Leicester, where 
they were introduced by the Newcombes. But they are more 
generally used by Hugh Watts (161 5- 1643), who either uses 
a band of foliage with acorns, or a broad arabesque border. 
The Oldfields of Nottingham early adopted similar patterns, but 
their typical border (301) is a running band of foliage and 
flowers or fruit (derived from the Newcombes), of which we find 
a broad and a narrow variety. Occasionally they make use of a 
very elaborate design (301), found at Barton-on-Humber St. 
Peter and on six other bells in Lincolnshire." It consists of two 

1 Also one at Devonport, dated 1588, formerly at St. Alban, Worcester. 
- Lines., fig. 118. 


\0 1 

crowned and bearded nude figures, with the goat's legs of the 
Greek god Pan, placed back to back with vases and arabesque- 
work between, and playing with dogs, monkeys, and squirrels ; 
interspersed in the design are the letters R, M, P, B. Thomas 
Hancox of Walsall uses many varieties of ornamental borders, 
some derived from earlier founders ; the most elaborate is a band 
of foliage with medallions at intervals in which are half-length 
full-face figures. 1 

Other founders who indulge largely in this kind of ornamenta- 

Lorders used by the Oldfields of Nottingham 

tion are the Cliburys of Wellington, John Martin of Worcester, 
and W. and R. Purdue of Bristol ; in later times the Baglevs of 
Chacomb and Joseph Smith of Edgbaston. The Wightmans of 
London sometimes (as at St. Clement Danes) use a very effective 
border of crosses, fleurs-de-lys, and (lowers alternating. Abraham 
Rudhall of Gloucester has a set of four ornamental borders 
(302), two of a floral character, one of linked fleurs-de-lys, and 
one of arabesque patterns, but only one of these was adhered 
to by his successors. The austerer founders of the latter half of 

1 See Tilley and Walters, Ch. Hells of Warwick^ p. 54. 



the eighteenth century use ornament very sparingly ; but the 
Whitechapel founders sometimes employ scroll or key patterns, 
and in particular one which was in use for nearly a century, 

Borders used by Abraham Rudhall 

consisting of two lines forming alternate loops and lozenges, 
usually known as " the Whitechapel pattern." Samuel Smith of 

York and his successor, Edward 
Seller, use a border of inter- 
twining scrolls, with which are 
interspersed bells and a shield 
bearing the words "S.S. Ebor" or 
" E. Seller Ebor." 

Among the other kinds of 
stamps and devices used by 
founders to ornament their bells 
are trade - marks or foundry 
shields, which first come into 
general use in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, though there are a few of 
earlier date. The oldest appears 
to be that used by William le 
Belyetere of Canterbury (about 
1325), which consists of a shield 
impressed with three oval medal- 
lions, representing a lion, a 
dragon, and the bust of a king 
(302). This occurs on eight bells in Kent. The same founder 
also uses a shield with three crowns and an arrow in pale (303), 

Trade-mark of William le 
Belyetere, Canterbury (1325) 



Trade-mark of William le 
Belyetere, Canterbury 


which is afterwards found in the hands of a Norwich founder. 
To about the same period probably belongs the shield at 
Scawton, Yorkshire (303), which bears 
a crozier in pale, with a bell, pestle 
and mortar, and tripod pot ; round it 
the words — 


The best and most interesting 

series of foundry shields are those 

used by the London founders of the 

fifteenth century, which, moreover, 

have the advantage of being fairly in- 
dividual, so that each founder can be 

assigned his particular mark. William 

Dawe and his associates, John Lang- 

horne, William Woodward, and John 

Bird (1385- 1420), use a shield with a 

chevron between three laver-pots (188), 

the latter vessel being the badge of the 

ollarius or maker of metal pots. More rarely we find on this 

group of bells another shield with three trefoils in place of the 

laver-pots, traditionally identified as 
the arms of the Underhill family, 
though there is no evidence of their 
connection with the bell-founders. 
William Dawe himself also uses as 
a stop a special mark in the form 
of a medallion with two birds on 
a tree, surrounded by the words 

William ffoun&or me fecit, 

Richard Hille (1423- 1440) uses 

a shield with a bend between a cross 

and a ring, above which on a few 

bells appears a lozenge, indicating 

that they were cast after his death 

by his widow Joanna. A later 

founder uses a shield with three 

Trade mark of John Copgrave mullets in chief and a chevron and 

ofVolk crescent below (188), the arms of 

the Keble family (and therefore of 

Keble College, Oxford), and has accordingly been identified 

with John Kebyll, wheelwright, who did some bell-hanging at 

1 Ellacombe, Bells of the Churchy p. 434. See above, p. 204. 

3 1 



St. Stephen Walbrook, London, 
in 1480. John Walgrave, who 
succeeded Dawe, uses a shield 
of the " merchants' mark " type l 
with a cross rising out of a W, 
on one side of which is a small 
I, denoting his initials I.W. His 
successor, Robert Crowch, has 
a similar shield with V C (189). 
Next come John Danyell, who 
proudly displays the Royal 
Arms (304) as his trade- mark, 
probably in recognition of his 
having cast the bells of the 
Royal foundation at Cambridge 
in 1460, and Henry Jordan. 
The latter boasts two trade- 
marks (304), one of the " mer- 
chant mark " type, which is 
of doubtful interpretation, the 
other of a very unorthodox heraldic type. It bears five charges, 
the keys of St. Peter, and a fish denoting his membership of the 
Fishmongers' Company, a bell and laver-pot with reference to 
his craft, and a garb or wheatsheaf, the cognisance of the 

Royal Arms used by John Danyell 

Trade-marks of Henry Jordan (about 1460) 

Harleton family from which he was descended. Thomas Bul- 
lisdon (1500-15 10) has a simple shield with a bell and his 
initials (190) ; Thomas Lawrence a similar shield with a large 

1 See for merchants' marks, Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc, xlix. p. 45 ; Trans. 
Bristol and Glouc. Arch. Sac, xvii. p. 270 (examples on brasses). 



Trade-mark of William Culverclen 

T; and finally vvc have William Culverden (15 10-1 523 , whose 
foundry shield is the most elaborate of all, and a rebus- 
device of the most subtle de- 
scription (305). Long a puzzle, 
it was finally elucidated by the 
ingenuity of Mr. A. D. Tyssen. 
The centre of the shield is 
occupied by a large bell, on 
which the letters jfOWll of 
the word founder are visible ; 
below are a W and a figure 
of a bird. On either side are 
inscribed the words %\\ fclto 
COfifcO with a trefoil and fce 
below ; and in the base is a 
mark like two P's conjoined, 
one being reversed. The 
name of Culverden being 
known as that of a founder 
from records of the period, it 
was ingeniously pointed out 
that culver is an old English 

word for " pigeon," the kind of bird evidently here repre- 
sented. Combined with the W and &C we thus get " XV. Culver- 
den." Now the significance of 
the text is apparent, for the Vul- 
gate of Ps. x. (xi.) 1 runs : " /;/ 
Domino confido ; quomodo dicite 
animae meae, transmigra in 
montem sicut passer? The other 
two marks are still unexplained, 
but the trefoil may indicate a 
reference to the Holy Trinity, 
Culverden having had some rela- 
tions with the Priory of that name 
in Aldgate. 

These may be taken as a 
typical set of examples ; but 
without lengthy description it is 
necessary to say something of 
the other mediaeval trade-marks 
found on bells. The Wokingham 
founder, Roger Landen, uses a "merchant's mark" shield with 
the initials R..L.W. (i.e., of Wokingham). The Brasyers of 

Trade-mark of Bury founders 


Norwich had two similar shields, each with three bells and a 
crown, the ground being either " ermine " or " sprigged " (207). A 
very remarkable shield is that used by the Bury St. Edmunds 
foundry (305). It bears the initials H.S., indicating its first 
owner, and also the keys of St. Peter, a bell, a cannon, and the 
crossed arrows of St. Edmund. The cannon denotes that the 
Bury founders combined warlike with peaceful arts, as was 
not uncommon. Robert Mellour of Nottingham also used a 
" merchant's mark," with a cross, a bell, and the letter R ; and 
similar shields with their initials marked the work of Thomas 
Bett and Thomas Newcombe of Leicester in the sixteenth 

Some founders in place of a shield use a circular medallion 
or seal, like those of Sandre of Gloucester (199) and William 
Dawe already described. One of the earliest dated bells in 
England, that at Cold Ashby, Northants (1317), bears a small 

Initials of Abraham Rudhall 

medallion in the centre of which is a bell, surrounded by the 
words S' VILLE'S DE FLINT, which probably may be read 
S(igillum) Willielmi) de Flint, that being the founder's name. 
On bells at Skendleby and other places near Alford, Lincoln- 
shire, is a circular seal-like stamp with a castle and the words, 

sfQillum roberti merston. 

Some of the post-Reformation founders have their special 
trade-marks, but the practice dies out after the seventeenth 
century, perhaps owing to the fact that the placing of the 
founder's full name on the bells becomes more general. Such 
examples as we have come chiefly from the Midlands. The old 
type of shield, with the founder's initials, was adhered to by 
Robert Oldfield of Hertford, the Cliburys of Wellington, John 
Martin of Worcester, and others, the favourite device being a 
bell between the initials, or sometimes three. Thomas Hancox 
of Walsall uses a heart-shaped shield with his initials and an 



anchor (perhaps a rude punning 

device) ; the Oldfields of Notting- 
ham a square stamp with their 

initials, a Calvary cross, and a 

crescent moon and star (249). 

Other founders use a circular 

medallion with similar designs, 

such as Robert Mot of London 

(216) and his successors the Bart- 
lets, or Richard Sanders of Broms- 

grove (230). But as a rule these 

post - Reformation trade - marks 

are of little interest, and only im- 
portant as means of identification. 

Though the use of the founder's 

full name now becomes common, 

as already noted, it is a regular 

practice with some, especially in 

the West of England, to use only 

their initials. The Purdues of 

Bristol and elsewhere (p. 227), 

the Penningtons of Exeter, the 

Evanses of Chepstow, and the 

Rudhalls of Gloucester, seldom 

place any further mark on their bells than their initials with a 

stamp of a bell between (306) ; or in the case of a complete 

ring by the last-named, we find the full name on one bell and 

initials on the others. Some founders for this reason are still 

a mystery, and an I.B. at Gloucester (1587- 1608), another I.B. 

at Wellington, Salop (1690-1700), and an L.C. at Bristol (1685- 

1695), are not yet further identified. 

On the other hand, many 
seventeenth-century founders orna- 
ment their bells with coats of arms 
and other miscellaneous devices 
which are worth noting. This was, 
of course, a commoner practice in 
mediaeval times, when artistic feel- 
ing was on a higher level, and 
some of the devices of this period 
are very beautiful, while others are 

At Tarring Neville, Sussex, is 

a medallion of the Crucifixion in 

Stamp used by John of York the French Style, mi a bell by 

Stamp at Margaretting, Essex 



Henry Jordan (1460-1470); this was also on the tenor bell of 
the old ring at King's College, Cambridge. At Margaretting, 
Essex, and WestclifF, Kent, we find a figure intended either for 
the Good Shepherd or St. John the Baptist with a lamb (307) ; 
at Stanion, Northants, a figure of the Virgin and Child ; and at 
Welham, Leicestershire, St. Andrew on his cross. John de 
Yorke (p. 202) uses a figure of an angel (307). At Shipton Bel- 


The Evangelistic Symbols 

linger, Hants, are three medallions representing the three kings, 
Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar ; at Impington, Cambridgeshire, 
and elsewhere, the emblems of the four Evangelists (308). 

In the second category come such devices as dragons or more 
or less faithfully-depicted animals, found at Dorchester, Oxon., 
Oddingley, Worcestershire, etc., or the grotesque winged figure 
(201) which is found on a group of bells in and near Worcester 


(see p. 200). Others again arc of an allusive type, as the ship on 
Bristol bells (198), referring to the arms of that city ; the gridiron 
used by Thomas Lawrence of London ; or the rebus on a bell 
at Bristol Cathedral, representing a heart pierced with nails, with 
reference to its donor, Abbot John Nailheart. Of a similar type 
is Culverden's rebus-shield already described ; and another rebus- 
shield, of uncertain interpretation, is used by John Sanders of 
Reading. 1 Purely decorative stamps are the rose and the spread 
eagle found at Langridge and Compton Paunceford, Somerset ; 
the curious lion's head used by the Wokingham founders (p. 194), 
and many others to be found in the plates of the county histories. 

Among post-Reformation devices the most remarkable are 
those used by Thomas Hancox of Walsall, who places on the 
waist of some of his bells three impressions of seals : - that of 
the monastery of West Langdon, Kent, representing the 
Madonna enthroned ; that of the gild of Corpus Christi at 
Coventry, with St. Nicholas celebrating mass ; and the seal of 
Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Peterborough and Norwich in the 
reign of Elizabeth. These are found at Doveridge, Derbyshire, 
Maxstoke, Warwickshire, and elsewhere. The Newcombes of 
Leicester have some effective stamps, such as a large crowned 
rose, a dragon, and a dog wearing a collar. Peter Hawkes, an 
Essex founder, uses a bird as a sort of punning device, and 
another occurs on a bell at Weston Bampfylde, Somerset, known 
as the " Cock Bell." The Heathcotes of Chesterfield use the 
fylfot cross or emblem of Thor, perhaps as symbolising workers 
in metal. On the funeral bell at Wolverhampton (St. Peter) is 
a series of several medallions, one of which appears to represent 
a miner in his leathern cap. A curious set of devices was used 
by the Cors of Aldbourn (Wilts.) early in the eighteenth century, 
representing Cupids and other figures or ornaments of Renais- 
sance style (311); it has been suggested that they picked up a 
series of old brass ornaments from which these were reproduced. 
There are also some grotesque figures at Exeter St. Martin and 
Ottery St. Mary, representing two heads combined in the 
manner of the grylli on Roman intaglio gems. 3 

The ornamentation of the bells of John and Stephen Tonne, 
two brother founders working in north-west Essex about 
1540-47, demands a few words to itself. It seems probable 
that these two men were of French extraction (Tonne probably 
comes from Antoine), and their method of decorating their 

1 Cocks, Buds., pi. 19. 

2 See Reliquary, xxi. p. 66, and Tilley and Walters, 67/. Bells of 
Warwick, p. 54. 

3 Ellacombe, Devon, pi. 5, figs. 54, 55. Their date is 1671-75. • 


bells is much more Continental than English. On the waist 
they place a large florid cross, and on either side of this 
medallions with human figures, heads of Henry VIII., and 
other devices (31 1 ). The clock bell at Felstead, Essex, which 
was cast by Stephen in 1546, is especially rich in this respect. 1 

Coats of arms are more frequently found on post-Reforma- 
tion bells, commemorating their influential donors ; but a few 
mediaeval examples are known, as at Heytesbury, Wilts., or at 
Bradford, Somerset, where there is a fine bell with the arms 
of John Beauchamp, Duke of Abergavenny. 2 Great Peter of 
Gloucester Cathedral bears the arms of the abbey (the keys 
of St. Peter). Arms of donors also appear on mediaeval bells 
at Cowthorpe, Yorks., and Isleham, Cambs. Post-Reformation 
examples are too numerous to discuss in detail ; but good 
instances may be found at Colchester St. James (the borough 
arms; and Little Bentley, Essex ; at Henley, Weston, and 
Wolford, Warwickshire ; at Dalham, Suffolk, West Knoyle, 
Wilts., and Yarnton, Oxon. ; and on several bells in Devon, 
Gloucester, and Somerset. 3 

The Royal Arms are found on many bells of the fifteenth 
to seventeenth centuries, but the mediaeval examples are all on 
bells by John Danyell of London, where they apparently form 
his trade-mark (see p. 304). We find those of Elizabeth's time 
on bells by Joseph Carter of Reading; and those of the Stuart 
kings on bells by Henry Yaxley (an East Anglian founder) 
and others. The Purdues of Bristol and Salisbury use a very 
elaborate representation of the Stuart Arms, of great size, sur- 
rounded by the emblems of the Passion and other devices, and 
sometimes also the Prince of Wales' feathers. Examples are 
at Boyton and Fovant, Wilts., and Brailes, Warwickshire. 

A unique instance of bell-decoration is to be found on the 
fourth bell at St. Mary-the- Virgin, Oxford, which bears a long 
inscription in musical notation. 4 The bell was cast by New- 
combe of Leicester in 161 2, and has an inscription to that effect 
in the ordinary position. Below is a band of ornament, and 
then two lines of music, which so far has baffled explanation, 
but it is probably secular, not sacred. The notes are of lozenge- 
like form, like the ancient " pricksong," and are arranged in a 
staff of five lines, without bars except at the ends ; the C clef 
is used for the three upper parts, and the F clef for the bass ; 
the key being B flat. At the beginning of each part is a 

1 See Deedes and Walters, Essex, pi. 21. 

2 Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Somerset, p. 9. 

3 See the plates in Ellacombe's books. 

1 See Ellacombe, Bells of Ike Church, p. 457 ; Archaeologia, xlii. p. 491. 

31 i 



medallion, 2\ in. in diameter, each containing ;i bust of a 
man in the costume of the period, and round these are the 
inscriptions : — 





Two of these medallions occur by themselves on another 
Newcombe bell at East Haddon, Northants. 

It has elsewhere been noted that the difficulty of dating 
early bells is often increased by the founders' practice of using 
older stamps which have belonged to their predecessors, or even 
to other foundries. One remarkable instance of this has already 
been quoted, in the case of the " Royal Head " stamps. Crosses 
and other devices, as well as lettering, are thus confusingly 
employed, and even trade-marks are used by founders in whose 
hands they are meaningless. Thus we find the shield of Roger 
Landen of Wokingham with his initials used at Reading about 
1600 by Joseph Carter and William Yare, and in Hampshire 
by a later founder. The mark of the Exeter founder, I.T., is 
used about 1600 by Thomas Byrdan at Kingston and Woodbury, 
Devon. The typical shield of the Brasyers of Norwich (p. 207), 
at least the " sprigged " variety, is first used occasionally by the 
Newcombes of Leicester, then regularly as their trade-mark by 
the Wattses of that town, and also occurs on bells by Robert 
Mot of London and Thomas Gardiner of Sudbury. The latter 
founder also uses two ornamental crosses belonging to mediaeval 
Norwich founders. The special cross of John Danyell of London 
appears in 16 16 on a bell by Purdue at Boyton, Wilts. ; the 
" cross-and-ring " shield of Richard Hille in 1604 at Kingsbury, 
Middlesex. Like the Leicester founders, the Oklficlds of 
Nottingham were much addicted to using the stamps and letters 
of older founders. The mediaeval London bell-founders regularly 
hand down their sets of capital letters from one to another, and 
three of them in succession use the set originally designed by 
Stephen Norton of Kent. The alphabet of John Barber of 
Salisbury (1400) is afterwards found in the hands of a Worcester 
founder, from whom it passed to Thomas Harrys of London 
(1475-1480), on whose bells the stamps are almost worn out and 
illegible from long usage. 

The examples of mediaeval lettering on post- Reformation 

3 2 


bells are fairly numerous. The Wattses of Leicester frequently 
used the finely ornamented capitals and other stamps formerly 
belonging to the Brasyers of Norwich, and the Oldfields of Not- 
tingham (292) also employed the lettering of their mediaeval 
predecessors, even down to the eighteenth century. Robert 
Burford's imposing capitals (see p. 289) occur on a bell at 
Dunmow, Essex, dated 161 3, and at Lincoln Cathedral in 1606 ; 
and those used by Thomas Lawrence (p. 192) on a bell at 
Hurley, Berks., by Joseph Carter of Reading, some seventy 
years later. But it is unnecessary to multiply instances of this 
general practice. 


i. The Mediaeval Period 

HAVING dealt with the dedications of the ancient bells and 
the various forms of inscription which they affect, we 
must now turn to consider what other kinds of inscriptions were 
placed on our bells, and that not only in ancient but also in 
later times. In the fourteenth century, from which time the 
earliest inscriptions date, the founder often put his name on the 
bell, as is almost always the case in post-Reformation times ; 
but he appears to have done so in no boasting spirit, for 
advertisement or self-glorification, like many a more modern 
founder. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the names 
of founders are extremely rare, but as we have already seen, the 
use of some trade-mark or badge was often considered sufficient 
for identification. The earliest example is at Goring, Oxon., 
which may be as early as 1290 (see p. 185); it is the name of 
an early London founder, in a curious mixture of Latin and 
Norman-French : — 

f>i(9^d DC uuyfflBis me fiss 

Another member of the same family occurs on five Bucking- 
hamshire bells (at Bradenham, Bradwell, and Lee) : — 

fflKsF^CLc DC UUyCQBIS fflC Fe<9l(9 

The VV for VY should be noted. Some account of these 
founders is given above (p. 182). At Chittern in Wiltshire 
we find the formula in English — 

lOYjU Bjfll^ BUF£ m& ffl^DG 

Sometimes the founder adds his place of residence, as at 
Worlington, Suffolk : — 

ior^fmnes godx/rgg dc uenne (Lynn) idc F€@i© 




or as in the case of Stephen Norton (c. 1370-1380), who styles 
himself "of Kent." Some founders, on the other hand, only 
give their initials as a clue. On many bells cast at Bristol 
between 1480 and 1540 we find the initials Vt, t0, or bi ; at 
Exeter somewhat earlier, fit and it. On a group of bells in 
Wilts., Dorset, and Sussex, we find under the initial cross either 
R or P YV. Some of these founders have been identified from 
other sources, but others still remain a mystery. The following 
list gives all the mediaeval founders whose names appear on 
their bells : — 

Aleyn, John 

<•• I350 (?) - 


Barber, John 

1 400- 1 404 - 


Baxter, Richard - 

1416-1424 - 


(Belyeter), John - 

'•• 1355 

Shrewsbury - 

Blower, Walter - 

14th cent. - 


Brasyer, Richard 

1478-1513 - 


Colsale, John de 

c. 1410 

Nottingham (?) 

Deacon, Thomas 



Lynn (?) 

Dudley, William 

Edmonton, Geoffrey of 

c. 1300 


Coding, John 

1300 - 

Lynn - 

Hazfelde, Simon de - 

1353-1375 - 


Hendley, Robert 

c. 1 480- 1 500 

Gloucester - 

Hey, Thomas 

Kirkham, John de 

<■■ 1 35°- 1 37o 

York - 

Lynn, Edmund de 

1353 - 

Lynn - 

,, Thomas de 

U1j - 

". " " " 

,, John de - 

c. 1300 

Norton, Stephen 

1370-1380 - 

Maidstone (?) 

Norwich, William of - 

ob. 1384 - 


Potter, John 

1359 - 

York - 

,, Thomas - 

c. 1400 


Revel, William - 

I 347-i35 6 - 


Rider, Robert 

1 350- 1 380 - 


Riston, John de - 

c. 1300 


Rufford, William 

1 380- 1 400 - 

Toddington, Beds. 

Schep, William - 

1 347- 1 349 - 


Silisden, William 

Sleyt, John 

Stafford, John de 

c. 1 380- 1400 


Southease, Sussex. 

Chittern, Wilts. 

Ketteringham, etc. , Norf. 

Longnor, Salop. 

Spixworth, Norfolk. 

St. Peter -per -Mounter- 
gate, Norwich. 

Milwich, Staffs. (1409). 

Catwick, Yorks. E. R. 

Chippenham, Cambs. 

Well, Lines. 

Billericay, Essex (recast). 

Worlington, Stiff. 

Sutterton, Lines. ; Stan- 
wick, Northants. 

Gloucester St. Nicholas. 

Wraxall, Dorset. 

Dacre, Cumbd. 

Sail, Norfolk. 

Tiunch, Wood Rising, 

W. Somerton, Norfolk. 

Snave, Kent, etc. 

Hellesdon, Norfolk. 

West Halton, Lines. 

St. John Sepulchre, Nor- 

Longfield, Kent. 

Ridgewell, Essex, etc. 

Bexwell, Norf. 

Westmill, Herts. 

Garboldisham, Norf. (re- 

Old Walsingham, Norf. 

Glapthorne, Northants. 

Leicester All Saints ; 
Scawby, Lines. 



Tonne, John - - 1520-1540 - - Seep. 193. 

,, Stephen- - 1544- 1546 - - Felstead, Essex. 

Wald, Thomas del - Howden, etc., Yorks. 

E. R. 
John del Everingham, Yorks. 

Weston, Peter de - 1330-1348 - London 
Wymbish, Michael de- 1300-1310 - 
,, Richard de- 1290-1310 - 

Waller de - c. 1310 
York, Jiilm de - - c. 1400 

Doubtful {probably donors) — 
Pette, Richard - - c. 1450 
Warwick, William - c. 1430 


Bristol (?) 

Kingsbury, Middx., etc. 
In Bucks, (see p. 315). 
Gt. Bradley, Suff. j Goi 

ing, Oxon., etc. 
Kingston by Lewes, 

Sproxton, Leics. 

Kirkby Fleetham, Vorks. 
I [ereford Cathedral. 

Some founders' names only occur on their foundry stamps. 
This is the case with John Copgrave of York, who at Scawton 
in that county uses a shield with a device surrounded by his 
name (see p. 303) ; William Flint at Cold Ashby, Northants, 
and Robert Merstoun, a Lincolnshire founder, use a kind of 
seal, and William Dawe of London a circular medallion with 
the words William ffoimoor me t'CCit, enclosing a device. 
These have been already described (pp. 303, 306). 

Some of the earliest founders merely give their Christian 
name, surnames in the fourteenth century being in a transitional 
state. Thus we have at Bicker, Lines., 10 H": ME : YEYT (sc. 
"cast," from Lat. jacio) ; * at Strensall, Yorkshire, WALTERVS 
ME FECIT; and at Bramber, Sussex, bells by one "Nicolas." 
Instances of initials have already been given. 

On mediaeval bells dates are even rarer than founders' names. 
Excluding foreign bells, which are almost always dated (see 
p. 211), the list is so short that it may be given here in full 
(* denotes recast). 

1296. Claughton, Lanes. 

1 3 1 7. Cold Ashby, Northants. 

1400. Terrington, Yorks. 

1407. Goldsborough, Yorks. 

1408. York, St. John Micklc- 

*i4c>9. Chester-le-Street, Durham. 
* „ Beckingham, Notts. 
„ Milwich, Staffs. 
1 4 10. Thirsk, Yorks. 
1423. S. Somercotes, Lines. 

143 1. Somerby, Lines. 

1465. Holme Cultram, Cumbd. 

14S0. Worcester St. Michael. 

1 48 1. Salhouse, Norf. 

1482. Grimley, Worcs. 

* ,, Maidwell, Northants. 

* 1 49 1 . Mungrisdale, Cumbd. 
1495. Durham Castle, Durham 

(arabic numerals). 

* 14.97. Ormskirk, Lanes. 
*J5oo. Grasby, Lines. 

1 Possibly "Johannes de Lynn" (see above is the founder of this bell. 



1505. Canterbury, St. Mary 

1 51 1. Downe, Kent. 
1 5 16. Isleham, Cambs. (arabic 
„ Aldbourne, Wilts. 
Sullington, Sussex. 
Leaden Roothing, Essex 
1524. Greystoke, Cumbd. 
*i 525. Stone, Worcs. (arabic ?). 
1536. West Boldon, Durham. 
„ Botolphs, Sussex. 


*i54o. Stanstead, Essex (arabic). 
1 544. Wood Ditton (Cambs. 
„ Stanstead, Suffolk. 

1546. Felstead, Essex (arabic). 

1547. Norwich St. Giles Hosp. 

1556. Islington, Norf. 

„ N. Muskham, Notts. 

1557. Middleton-in-Teesdale, 

1559. Reepham, Norfolk. 
,, Elmley Castle, Worcs. 

Where the date is not actually given, it may often be 
approximately ascertained by the name of the donor or some 
other person mentioned on the bell (see p. 321). Some bells 
record the fact that they were put up "in the time of So-and-so," 
as at Gloucester St. Nicholas — 

©eoQ£Gi^e (gLce<i)en©is lck^fglcd s^@i^is©^ 

this being probably the subsequent Abbot of Evesham, who 
built the famous Abbey bell-tower in 1534. At Wichenford 
and Worcester St. Michael in Worcestershire the names of the 
respective rectors are given in smaller type ; and on the bell at 
the Guildhall, Lincoln, the name of the Mayor for 1371 occurs. 

The earliest inscriptions, those of the fourteenth century, 
were usually in Latin, and at first very simple in form. We 
find merely a name such as IESVS or IOHANNES, or frequently 
the simple AVE MARIA. For the invocation of saints the 
earliest formulae are IN HONORE SANCTI . . . as at Cavers- 
field, Oxon., or CAMPANA BEATI ... as at Chaldon, Surrey, 
and Besford, Worcs. The ordinary invocatory formula, SANCTE 
or SANCTA . . . ORA PRO NOBIS appears to have been in- 
troduced about 1350, and thenceforward remains the commonest 
form of mediaeval inscription. It is pretty clear from the ex- 
amples of dedicatory inscriptions already quoted that they were 
generally composed by men who knew little Latin, and some- 
times none, though some are of a more scholarly complexion. 
The latter are doubtless due to monastic influence, and as we 
have seen elsewhere, there is no doubt that many bells were cast 
under monastic supervision. The scholarship of the age must 
not be judged by the inferior specimens of Latin grammar and 
Latin versification. It is as though some critic should judge the 
poetry of the nineteenth century, not by its Keats or Tennyson, 
but by the doggerel verses for gravestones which stone masons 


keep to record the grief of the illiterate relatives of the departed. 
Sometimes the founders were careful men, and copied the 
inscriptions quite accurately ; but often they betray themselves. 
A bell at Stourpaine, Dorset, has the inscription — 

J.n Wet Mebt iHa i >ro nobis Viroo (T^aria 

of which the first four words, if literally translated, would mean 
" In thy thrice holy seat" ; but no doubt the founder wished to 
say " Intercede for us." Again in the following example, from 
a bell which used to stand on the floor of St David's Cathedral, 
the dislocated state of the sentence shows that the founder did 
not understand a word of it — 

SO Lcl DC O F)0 HOI^ G© GhO 1^ 
" Honour and glory to God alone." 

This was the motto of Henry V. after Agincourt, and as William 
Lyndewode, who was present at the battle, afterwards became 
Bishop of St. David's, the bell may belong to the period of his 

In the next inscription, from Charlton Marshall, Dorset, there 
is but one grammatical mistake — 

si© no men do cqi ne bg ne dk© ©ucq 

but in the following, from Warblington, Hants, the founder was 
very careless, or perhaps short of letters, while some of them are 
upside down — 

sancte pale era pro nobf 

" Saint Paul, pray for us." 

Another, from Dunsforth, Yorkshire, looks puzzling, but the 
letters are merely reversed — 

fin eii er)yis (gn^s (i.e., spnG&fi Tieuenp) 

The next, from Holton-le-Clay, Lines., at first sight does not 
look like St. Peter — 

Sane irt ep it 

yet all the letters are there, but in marvellous disorder. 

Another from Dorset (at Iwerne Minster) is as obscure as 
Aeschylus ; Dr. Raven 1 suggests that it was composed by one 
who did not let his left hand know what his right hand was 
doing : — 

r)yi(9 €(S@Lcesie dgdi© ©ei^cgifi si© &onfi sub 

IGSU ROfflinp SORfl (read "nomine sonans"). 

1 Ch, Hells of Dorset^ p. 4 


The probable sense is " (So-and-so) gave (me) to this church; 
may the third bell be good, sounding in Jesus' name." We 
have already had occasion to quote, as an example of an 
unsuccessful pentameter, one at Great Waltham, Essex (p. 274), 
and another flagrant instance of disregard of metre is found in 
Norfolk and Essex : — 

ioi?fmnes gf>is©i ©'^r^e DiGnpi^e ei^o hgbis 

QF^I^G (see p. 276), 

where the poet has broken all the trammels of prosody in order 
to achieve a triple rhyme. 

Ingenuity of a different kind may be possibly seen in the 
following inscription, formerly at Stratford St. Andrew, Suffolk. 
Here the name Barbara — so Dr. Raven 1 suggests — has been 
dislocated so as to revive a fond reminiscence of the famous 
rhyme of the syllogistic moods in Deductive Logic : Barbara 
Celarent Darii Fcrioque Prioris. This subtle joke — surely the 
work of some academic trifler pitchforked from a fellowship into 
a living — is thus achieved : — 

sancta • ?3ar • ?3at* • M. • Ora i^ro • ^obis. 

Pre-Reformation bells are not always dedicated to saints 
or sacred personages. We also find the names of donors, or 
prayers for the souls of the living or the dead, or texts from the 
Vulgate version of the Scriptures or service-books, and even 
pious sentiments of a kind which could have given no offence 
even in later times. Some bells boast unblushingly of their 
own merits ; on others again the founder proclaims his complete 
illiteracy either by merely reproducing the whole or part of the 
alphabet, or by a few stray unintelligible combinations of letters. 
Examples of each class must be given. 

The name of a donor is often distinguished from that of a 
founder by the use of the phrase FIERI FECIT in place of the 
simple FECIT; or the name is placed by itself on the crown 
of the bell or elsewhere. A notable early instance is the remark- 
able bell at Caversfield, Oxon. (formerly Bucks.) which has an 
inscription on the sound-bow in rude Saxon letters, already 
discussed (p. 21). Another early example of a different kind 
is at Bisley, Surrey : — 

" The brotherhood made me in honour of blessed Mary," 
1 C/i. Bells of Suffolk, p. 66. 


a later parallel to which is on Great Peter of Gloucester Cathedral 
(fifteenth century) : — 

me fecit fieri conventns nomine petri 

dedicated by the convent to the patron saint of their church 
(see p. 104). Gifts of private persons are commemorated in 
similar formulae, as at Ellough, Suffolk : — 

ioi^rcnes bi^our cqg fg@is Fiery 

or at Hickling, Norfolk : — 

"Willms (Greene 3necit Micvi I stam (Tampanam 

An exceptional form of a dedication in verse is at Chetwode, 
Bucks. : — 

cqc ©ibi xi?e DpBfig i : @f?e©?t50De @ueir> 

"J. Chetwode gave me to thee, O Christ, whom he greatly loved " ; 

or at St. Andrew, Worcester (quoted above, p. 277). 

The names of founder and donor occur together at Hellesdon, 
Norfolk, where the bell made by William de Norwyco (see 
p. 205) is given by Johnes de Hellesdon. Frequently the record 
of a gift is in English, as at Yate, Gloucs. : — 

F>GBeF>©ys ssfmscgF^u SKyi?eF> (squire) cue 
lie©' CQ^^e 

or at Leaden Roothing, Essex : — 

ior>n fiyiie© spue cue in SF>e yoi^^ye of ©F>e 
©i^inise p° i523. 

or again at St. Nicholas, Gloucester (cf. p. 130) : — 

ion mj&se finDe fiijuis ngs eaype Lie© mpKW 
me Bey F5eF> uijbg m 050^(§f?eee of s^ynse 

IOY) (John). ' 

Sometimes, as at Dorchester, Oxon. ; Harringworth, Northants ; 
Barnby, and Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk ; Curry Rivell, Somerset ; 
the donor's name occurs by itself, usually on the shoulder of the 
bell, apart from the inscription. The godfather of the bell 
at its " baptism " records his name at Crostwight, Norfolk (see 
above, p. 257). 

Sometimes in place of the donor's name, with fieri fecit or 
its equivalent, the bell has a prayer to some saint on his behalf, 



or for the soul of one deceased. These often afford a clue to 
the date of the bell, where the date of the donor's death can 
be ascertained from other sources, such as monuments or wills. 
There are some good examples both in Latin and English. 
The first, from Aldbourne, Wilts., is dated : — 

;E>eus proplcius esto aiabus Xlicaroi ©ooaro quondam 
oe Wipbam_;^lt3abetb et .Elisabetb ujorum eius 
ac aiabus oim liberorum et parentum suorum qui 
banc campanam fieri fecerunt anno 2)ni mcccccrvi. 

" God be propitious to the souls of Richard Goddard, formerly of Upham, 
and of his two wives Elizabeth, and to the souls of all their children and 
parents, who had this bell made in the year of our Lord 1516." 

This inscription is of special genealogical interest as the only 
record of Richard Goddard's double marriage. 
Isleham, Cambs. : — 

see gabrtcl era p' atabs Jcbts bcrnarD milit : ct clone ujte sue ct 
tbome pcyjton armiiit ct margaretc mis sue filte et bereft' p'Mctor' 
Johis ct elene. 

"Saint Gabriel pray for the souls of John Bernard Knt. and Helen his 
wife, and of Thomas Peyton, Esq., and Margaret his wife, daughter and 
heiress of the said John and Helen." 

Norwich Cathedral : — 

Orate x>ro M-ia Xloberti ^©retbenam (a&onacbt 


" Pray for the soul of Robert Brettenham of Norwich, monk." 
Salhouse, Norfolk : — 

©rate i^ro Jiiabus ^rm et gtoror' Oiloe <grorpus 
Xpi oe Ojburob Mnno X^ni m° cccc iitj^j 1 

" Pray for the souls of the brethren and sisters of the Gild of Corpus 
Christi of Oxburgh, Anno Domini 1481." 

Bolton-in-Craven, Yorks. : — 

see X>aule ora pro aiabus benrici puosep et maroarete 

©ronsorte sue 

" Saint Paul, pray for the souls of Henry Pudsey and Margaret his spouse." 
Goring, Oxon. : — 

Syin@©e L?e©F>e of^i l?i^g ©esi^o exoniensi 

(an early example, as Peter Quivil of Exeter died in 1291, and the bell 
must have been cast during his lifetime). 

1 Sc. fourscore and one (1481). 


Cowthorpe, Yorks. : — 

o 6I7GU Bii'gssiD ©reraise of bi^i^r i^oDiiypp 

YjflB W(J<£>G 
Botolphs, Sussex : — 

Of v?our cbarite prai for tbe soulles of iobii flutter 
lobn limit "yxnilem s Hitter 1536 

To the same class belongs a remarkable inscription at St. Erney, 
Cornwall, with a prayer to the Virgin to help souls in purgatory : — 

nomen campane par afabs ora p' eis vtnio vircu'num seal 
qnas in purgatorto puniuntui quo& priue per oct 

miam (misericordiam) liborcntur. 

"The name of the bell is peace to the souls, pray for them, holy virgin of 
virgins, who are being punished in purgatory, that they may soon be delivered 
by the mercy of God." 

Another interesting example, of the reign of Queen Mary, is at 
Midclleton in Teesclale, Durham, elated 1557 (see p. 155): — 

tell scull fcnell at hie enMng ano for bis soul sag one 
paternoster ant> one ave ano oni 1557. 

An effective inscription, though the doctrine is repugnant to 
our Protestant minds, is at Conington, Cambridgeshire : — 

fissycQiafefi es© co^ifi in ©peiiua) GfiyDen© 
^nceiii ii^uDpnses BeneDKSun© DocmraxQ. 

" Mary is taken up into heaven ; the angels rejoice, praising and blessing 


It calls to the mind one of the great pictures by Fra Angelico 
or Filippo Lippi in the galleries at Florence. 

Texts from the Scriptures or excerpts from service-books 
are rare on mediaeval bells, though the former are exceedingly 
common in later times. Many of the leonine verses and other 
dedication formulae already quoted probably come from the 
latter source. A beautiful example from a sequence on the 
seven joys of the Virgin l was on the old tenor at Brailes, 
Warwickshire (reproduced in facsimile in 1877): — 

Oauoe ciuco i>ost ipm scanois et ost i >;onor 
Tibi Oranois In < cli r >alacio 

" Rejoice that thou ascendest after Him, and there is for thee great 
honour in the courts of heaven." 

1 The lines are taken from the seventh stanza, and of course relate 10 her 
assumption. They also occurred on an old bell at Eton College. See Payne 
in Records 0/ Bucks., viii. p. 47. 


From the Vulgate Bible we have the following : — 
Ley ton, Essex (Ps. cii. i) — 

DocQine gx^udi ortfHgioreecQ $euff> e© 

" Lord, hear my prayer, and let my crying come unto thee." 

Finchley St. Paul, Middlesex (bell from Hatford, Berks.) — 

" Blessed is the womb that bare thee." 

Winchester St. Michael (Ps. xlv. 5) — 

specie Wvlsl M.c £>nlcvitnoine TTna. 

Of the words SI© ROffiCn DQCQim BGfteDIGSUffl, "blessed 
be the name of the Lord," there are no less than a hundred 
instances, mostly on London-cast bells, but though the words 
occur in the Bible (Job i. 21) their purport is too general for 
them to be a quotation. 

ZEe ^Deum .Braubamus 

occurs at Stanford Dingley, Berks., and Maulden, Beds. ; 

oui^ f^©f?gfj raiGi? fip v © m r^epuen 

at Kintbury, Berks., and Chinnor, Oxon. ; and at Rodbourne 
Cheney, Wilts. — 

1 BGLieue m god S5e FB^er^ 

the last two being by a sixteenth-century founder who nearly 
always used English. The last inscription occurs in Latin at 
Stoke Ash, Suffolk : — 

<srrefco In ;n>eum Omnipotentem. 

Inscriptions of an even more colourless type are sometimes 
found, even in the fourteenth century. Thus at Ahvington, 
Devon, and Wolvey, Warwick, we find — 


at Hope Bowdler, Salop — 


and somewhat later, at Clyst Honiton, Devon — 

©anoiamns omnes in Domino. 


Towards the middle of the sixteenth century similar sentiments 
in English are often employed by the Bristol founders, as at 
Abson and Brimpsfield, Clones. An early London founder's 
bell at Rawreth, Essex, has simply — 

" Now it is time," 
and at Stoke by Clare, Suffolk, we find — 

.simie mane servfre fceo 

"Arise betimes to serve Cod." 

It is rare to find a purely secular type of inscription on a 
mediaeval bell, but at Waberthwaite, Cumberland, we have — 

5eni^iGus sexsys i^ex. 

Occasionally too the mediaeval founder was tempted into 
boasting about his productions as unblushingiy as any of later 
and more secular times. A not uncommon claim is (as at I'ay- 
hembury, Devon, and East Dean, Sussex) : — 

Xlle tuelior ~Wcve Mon €ast (Tampaua .sub ©re 

"Truly no better bell beneath the sky," 
or at Netteswell, Essex, and Brent Tor, Devon : — 

G^Liiius yo<soF> cgo sohus syi?e^ ojunifi sono 

" I am called the cock; I alone sound above all." 
With which may be compared Bradfield, Essex: — 

i fim v K o® of ©51s flcocsk; 

An interesting set of six inscriptions was used by the Exeter 
founders in the fifteenth century ; they occur on man}- bells in 
Devon and Somerset (see p. 197) : — 

i. ©st micbi collatum ibc titufc nomen amatum 

2. r>roteoc Virgo pia quos convoco sancta maria 
3 ~yfoce mea viva e-epello cunta nociua 
4- r Mebis ote (omm's) plauoit oum me tarn septus 

5. d),e melior vere now est eampana sub ere 

6. XTMsteriis saeris repleat nos oca iobannis 

The last-named is not easy to translate, but dca probably stands 
for doctriiia, with reference to the latter part of the sixth chapter 
of St. John's Gospel. The)' may be Englished as follows: — 


i. Jesus, that beloved name, is bestowed (?) on me. 

2. Holy Virgin Mary, of thy goodness protect those whom I call together. 

3. With my living voice I drive away all hurtful things. 

4. All the people rejoice as often as they hear my voice. 

5. (See above). 

6. May the teaching of John fill us with holy mysteries. 

Mediaeval inscriptions are usually in Latin, the language of 
the unreformed Church, but English inscriptions, though rare in 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were still sometimes used. 
Some examples have already been quoted, but others of more 
miscellaneous character may here be given. At Heckfield, 
Hants, we have — 

nO&5 GOD r?eiiS flRD r>pUG (save) flLcLc. 

At Gainford, Durham, where Roger of Kirkby was vicar 1401- 
141 2, the bell, now recast, had — 

F?GIi© fflfllW QUOD (quoth) I^OGGI^ OF ^IF^GBy 

A bell at Alkborough, Lincolnshire, has the couplet — 

ICSU FOF> T/e CQODII^ (the mother's) SfO{G 

s^ue fiu ye spioiis ©r?^© cr>e efn^s eo^e 

(caused to be made) ylfDen. 

Another, formerly at Gorleston, Suffolk, had a pious but 
ill-spelled inscription— 

i pff) fflfiD in ©F>e TOGi^D@r?ei?e of ©F>e csi^os. 

At Snowshill, Gloucestershire, we find the quaint inscription — 
m Hflffie OF SI^IRISe GIIiMS (Giles') BeiiLiC 

men Gfiune oe 

and a similar one at Hillmarton, Wilts., named after St. Lawrence 
(LAVRVS). At Brompton Ralph, Somerset, is another — 

GfH3F>ieLi is cqi r^<j>e m eae [you] s^ouug 
FiDDe (find) no BLi^cae. 

Of a simpler and probably much later type are, at Colton, 

ooo ameno ma 

Abson, Gloucs. — 

al tgm on nor ooo 

" Honour God always." 
Minster, Kent — 

r^GLiy ffl^G B^py FGF£ US 


East Dean, Sussex — 

F?fHLc fflfllW FUIi OF GI^pS 
and at Southvvold is a tuneful mixture of English and Latin — 

3En T^epltb Jinfc In "yvro ^aufces t)co. 

Occasionally also Norman- French is found, as at Bitterley, 
Salop (c. 14 10) : — 

iesu ug seisne seyn© prarce £gf> ue oi^di- 
n^un@e f^iiCis s©ui^y oye Diey pssoyi^e 

" To Jesu, the Lord, and St. Anne, by the ordinance of Alice Stury, whom 
God pardon of his great mercy." 

and at Long Stratton, Norfolk : — 

ieey cniie fjon dg ©oi sii^e ion ssyi^ffiin 
fi© Fei^e cool 

" Jesu, in honour of Thee, Sir John Sturmin had me made," 

but otherwise this language, though not uncommon in English 
inscriptions of the fourteenth century, is confined to foreign 

We may close this chapter with an interesting record of a 
bell inscription at Reading, as ordered to be inscribed by the 
donor of the bell. In 1493 one Henry Kelsall bequeathed a 
bell to the church of St. Lawrence, and at the same time ordered 
" the scripture to be made aboute the same bell Henry the 
bell of IHUr l 

1 Kerry, Hist, of St. Lawrence, Reading, p. 84. 



II. The Post-Reformation Period 

WE now turn to the inscriptions of the post-Reformation 
period, which will naturally be seen to present very 
different characteristics from those hitherto quoted. But the 
change was not so marked or so rapid as might appear at first 
sight. Many of the founders or donors of bells of the Eliza- 
bethan or " transitional " period were doubtless more or less 
inclined to adhere to the old form of faith, and the inaccessibility 
of many bells favoured the inclinations of those who were loth 
to adopt the new ideas, and helped to preserve the relics of 
" papistry " which in other forms fell an easy prey to the 
reformer and iconoclast. 

The Newcombes of Leicester, who were founding between 
1560 and 1600, boldly inscribe their bells with the names of 
saints in the old style, though they are careful to omit the 
dangerous formula ora pro nobis ; and there are not a few other 
bells of the period which at first sight appear to be mediaeval. 

But there are some belfries into which the Puritan ravagers 
seem to have penetrated in their zeal, and carefully filed off 
what appeared to them offensive. On a bell at South Lopham, 
Norfolk, all that is left of the inscription is the word VOCOR. 
At West Bradenham in the same county, in a black-letter 
inscription >%> Virginis Egregie Vocor Campana Marie, the 
initial cross and the first and last words have been obliterated. 
Elsewhere the word ORA or the name of the saint has suffered 
this fate. Other instances are noted below, p. 356. 

Some of the founders aforesaid appear to have evaded 
detection, while satisfying their mediaeval propensities, by the 
use of the alphabet or portions of it, for which the old mediaeval 
letters are employed. This is exceedingly common in the 
Elizabethan period and the early years of the sixteenth century. 
But many of these so-called " alphabet bells " are certainly of 
mediaeval date. There are fourteenth-century examples at Side, 
Gloucestershire, and Bywell St. Peter, Northumberland. Some- 


what later are the alphabets at Oddingley, Worcestershire ; 
Baverstock and Bowerchalke, Wilts. ; Patrington, Yorks. ; Mar- 
tham and Great Plumstead, Norfolk ; and several on bells by 
Robert Norton of Exeter, in Devon (Hennock, Lufifincott, 
Combe-in-Teignhead). It is supposed that some symbolism 
may have been attached to the use of the alphabet ; ' and in 
some rituals it was customary at the dedication of a church for 
the bishop to write on the pavement two alphabets, one in 
Greek, the other in Latin, perhaps with reference to Our Lord's 
stooping and writing on the ground (John viii. 6). Some such 
idea may therefore be connected with the alphabets on mediaeval 

The majority, however, are certainly later, though the bells are 
frequently not elated. The Wattses of Leicester frequently used 
the whole or part of an alphabet between 1590 and 1642 ; the 
earliest with a date is 1 591 at Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, 
the latest at Lutterworth, Leics., 1642. A series of bells prob- 
ably cast at Buckingham about 1 560 have portions of the 
alphabet in very rudely-formed jumbled letters (291) ; and many 
other examples may be found in different parts of the country. 
At Tysoe, Warwickshire, a bell of 17 19 has the alphabet and a 
series of numerals from 1 to 9, but no other inscription. 

Connected with the alphabet bells are what are known as 
"puzzle" inscriptions, which may be due to the same cause, but 
are more probably the result of ignorance on the part of the 
founder. Some from the Reading and Buckingham foundries 
are as early as the middle of the sixteenth century (e.g. y 
Hoggeston, Bucks. ; Ewelme and Marsh Baldon, Oxon.) ; but 
the majority are about the time of Queen Elizabeth."- There is 
a group, all by one founder, in Beds., Herts., and adjoining 
counties, one of which is Bunyan's bell at Elstow. On these, 
as on most of the others, the inscription consists of a jumble of 
meaningless badly-formed letters, intermixed with coins, crosses, 
fleurs-de-lys, and other devices. It is safest to suppose that they 
are the work of some journeyman founder who had picked up 
various odd scraps of " type " and placed them on his bells 
indiscriminately, being unable to produce a proper inscription. 
Other examples may be found at Challacombe, Devon ; East- 
leach Martin and Notgrove, Gloucs. ; Old Weston, Hunts. ; 
Ickenham and Teddington, Middlesex ; Higham Eerrers, 
Northants ; Thurloxton, Somerset ; St. Chad, Lichfield, Staffs. ; 

1 Durandus, iransl. Neale and Webb, p. 239 ; Maskell, Monum. Ritu- 
alia, i. p. 208 (Oxford, 1882), says the alphabet was intended to symbolise 
the elements of doctrine. 

2 See the examples given by Cocks, Bucks., pp. 61 fif., 188. 



Pyrford, Surrey; Little Packington, Warwick; Broom and 
Overbury, Worcestershire. 

Just as we find throughout the greater part of the post- 
Reformation period a constant use of mediaeval stamps and 
lettering by later founders (see p. 313), so too there are frequent 
instances of genuine mediaeval inscriptions being preserved or 
repeated on later bells. In many cases the founder doubtless 
repeated on the new bell what he found on the old without 
properly comprehending it, or perhaps without troubling himself 
about theological considerations. There is one amusing instance 
of this, at Addington in Kent. A mediaeval inscription — 


becomes in the hands of James Bagley of London (17 10) — 


It is quite exceptional, though not unknown, to find an old 
inscription reproduced by a later founder actually in facsimile 
as regards lettering and stamps ; this is the case with the 7th 
at Gloucester Cathedral, which is inscribed — 

+ mt69(i) fce celis babeo nomen ©abrielis * 1626 

EW ; T : 

The two crosses are also found on the present 6th bell, which 
dates from about 1400, shewing that the original 7th was 
put up at the same time. Unfortunately the later founder 
(Thomas Pennington of Exeter) has spoiled the effect of his 
work by setting it on the bell backwards. In 1660 John Martin 
of Worcester recast a mediaeval bell at St. Michael's church in 
that city, 1 on which he set the old inscription in its Gothic 
lettering ; elsewhere he only uses Roman type. 

Other instances where only the style or the wording of the 
old inscriptions is reproduced may here be noted. At Doveridge, 
Derbyshire — 


Laindon Clays, Essex — 

HDulcis Misto pcielis ~y2~ocor erampana XTUcaelis 


and Ingrave in the same county — 


1 The bell is now non-existent, but the inscription was carefully copied 
by Dr Prattinton about 1820. 


Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire — 

sancte gcovgt ova pco nobis 1575 ' 

Clungunford, Salop — 


Clifton-on-Teme, Worcestershire — 


"Through Kenelm's merits, may the heavenly life be ours. - ' 

In many cases it is not certain whether the founder is faithfully 
reproducing the old inscription or deliberately harking back to 
mediaeval ideas. 

Excellent Latin verses, of a more colourless type from the 
theological point of view, may often be found on seventeenth- 
or eighteenth-century bells. Two favourite couplets used by 
William Haulsey of St. Ives, Hunts., are the following— 


"When I tell of tombs, learn to die, when of the pulpit, learn to live ; 
Learn at our sound to live ; learn at our sound to die." 


" Not a voice but a prayer, not tuneful music, but the heart, 
Not noise but love sings in the ear of God." 

Two good couplets on the four bells at Lois Weedon, 
Northants (by Henry Penn, 1705), are unfortunately marred by 
a fearful false quantity at the end 3 — 



"The clergy and people are called to worship the Trinity; and I am 
pleased to celebrate feast-days. I mourn the dead, and make the sky 
serene ; I guide wanderers by night, and am a keen foe to fire." 

1 Similar inscriptions at Little Hadham, Herts, (about 1570, and St. 
John, Uxbridge Moor, Middlesex (1578). 
- Shillington, Beds., 1624. 

3 The composer had never learned the familiar line in the Latin grammar : 
Est acer in silvis ; equus acer Olympia vincit ! 

4 Alluding to the power of bells to drive away storms </. p. 2<>2 . 

"' Cf. the traditions of bells guiding travellers in the darkness (p. 147). 


There are also some good Latin verses on the bells at St. 
Leonard's and St. Mary Magdalene's, Bridgnorth, Salop. 1 

Some mottoes have evidently been composed with a view 
to parading the author's erudition, as in an amusing instance at 
Mapledurham, Oxon., which alludes to the theory of the Greek 
philosopher Pythagoras concerning the music of the spheres — 



" If you heard us, old Pythagoras, you would think that you heard the 

heavenly spheres," 

or the quotation from Horace's Ars Poctica at Peckleton, 
Leicestershire — 


" He has gained every point who combines the useful and the pleasant." 

Another piece of classical erudition is at Blisworth, Northants — 


" Above the clashings of the Curetes and the brass of the Corybantes." 

A quaint conceit at Myddle in Shropshire — 


" Others I call ; myself remain outside " 

was probably composed by a famous local worthy, Richard 
Gough, whose name appears on the same bell. Another worth 
noting is at Cambridge St. Benet — 


" I bear not the name of an imaginary saint, but the name of Benedict" (or 
" of the blessed one "). 

The first half of the line looks suspiciously like a " purple patch." 
Or can it be a hit at the imaginary St. /\poline to whom a bell 
in the neighbouring tower of St. Botolph's is dedicated ? 

A really effective inscription is that already quoted from 
St. Mary's, Stamford (p. 166) — 


" I wear myself out in the service of the Stamford people." 

Most of the above go back to the seventeenth century, but 
some founders of the eighteenth also had classical leanings, 
particularly Joseph Eayre of St. Neot's, who is the author of 

1 Shropsli. Arch. Soc. Trans., 3rd Ser., ii. pp. 194, 196. 


the Peckleton line already quoted. He appears as an original 
poet at Blisworth, Northants, with the line — 


which he has ingeniously, but somewhat literally, rendered in 
English at Lilbourn in the same county — 



But his translation of "Churchwardens" into HIEROPHYL 
ACEBVS at Brigstock can hardly be pronounced a success. 
The Bagleys of Chacomb on the other hand were very illiterate, 
and not only weak in English orthography, but when they did 
venture on Latin the results were disastrous, as at Walsgrave 
in Warwickshire, where the line — 


" Ring tuneably and you shall have as much beer as is good for you," 

can only be translated freely, but its purport (a thirsty one) ma)' 
be easily divined, especially when we compare another inscription 
in the same tower (see p. 94). 

Even the Whitechapel founders of the latter half of the 
eighteenth century were not sound in the matter of Latin, for 
we find (for instance) indiscriminately PACK & CHAPMAN OF 
LONDON FECERUNT (at Stanwix, Cumberland, 1779) and 
PACK & CHAPMAN FECIT (at Crosthwaite in the same 
county, 1775). But possibly they would have justified the use 
of the singular verb on the ground that the firm was regarded 
as a single entity. 

It is perhaps hardly surprising that we do not meet with any 
attempts at Greek, but there are one or two nineteenth-century 
examples of that language, as at Bradbournc, Derbyshire, and 
Motcombe, Dorset ; the latter runs — 

€19 Qeov 8u£av Qeooapa ■>) GcoSotos SeSw/ce /ie 
" To the glory of God Theodora the daughter of Theodotos gave me." 

Welsh inscriptions may be expected to occur on the bells of the 
Principality, but very few have so far come to light. 

Texts from Scripture, as already noted, are very common on 
post-Reformation bells, but it is surprising to find so many 
taken from the Vulgate version. Omitting the more obvious 
ascriptions of praise from the Psalms, as at Cherry Hinton and 


Duxford St. John, Cambs., and Sprowston, Norfolk (Ps. xcv. i, 
c. i, and cl. 6), we have at Orton-on-Hill, Leicestershire — 


DIERVM (Ps. xxiii. 6). 

" I will dwell in the house of the Lord all my length of days." 

At Welton, Yorks.— 


(Ps. cxvi. 13). 
"Glorious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." 

At Castle Ashby, Northants — 



MANDAS SALVTEM (Ps. lxxxix. 26-27). 

"Thou hast turned a tempest into a breeze and hast put the waves to 
silence ; thou thyself art my King who orderest my safety." 

And at Towcester in the same county Ps. cxxxiii. is distributed 
over five of the bells. At Corby, Lincolnshire, is the well-known 
text from Phil. ii. 10 — 

In nomine IHV XPI omne genu flcctat cclcstin terstrm S. tnfroru 

"At the name of Jesus Christ every knee shall bow, of things in heaven 
and earth and under the earth." 

Many of the texts in English are of early date, and taken from 
the earlier versions, thus appearing in an unfamiliar guise, as on 
two Elizabethan bells, at Hannington, Northants, and Semper- 
ingham, Lines. — 

LOVE HORTETH NOT (Rom. xiii. 10). 

Of the same period, at Ruardean, Gloucs., is — 


(cf. Ps. cxi. 10, Prov. ix. 10, and Eccles. xii. 13); 

and at Sevenhampton, in the same county, is another pleasing 
selection, adapted from Ephes. v. 1 — 



At Oxburgh, Norfolk, are two verses from the Te Deum (9, 10) — 



The end of the sixteenth and beginning of the following 
century are in particular marked by the general use of short 
phrases and exhortations expressive of a genuine piety which 
was characteristic of the age of George Herbert and Bishop 
Andrewes. John Wallis of Salisbury (i 587-1624) is specially 
noteworthy in this respect. We find on his bells such expressions 
as LOVE GOD, PRAISE GOD, FEARE GOD, repeated over 
and over again ; and he occasionally breaks out into more 
lengthy appeals, as at Chichester Cathedral — 


Lukis says of him l : "If we estimate him by his works he was 
a great man ; and if we take his laconic epigraphs as an index 
of his heart, his was a trustful, thankful, religious character." 

Such expressions as IESVS BE OVR SPEED, IN GOD IS 
MY HOPE, DRAW NEAR TO GOD, were used by other 
founders of the same period, the first-named being particularly 
common, especially in the Northern Midlands, as at Nottingham. 
At Upwood in Huntingdonshire {c. 1580) we find — 


at Houghton in the same county — 

and at Passenham, Northants, one of a more secular tone — 


A sturdy Protestantism finds vent in the favourite motto of 
Richard Holdfield of Cambridge (1599-1612)' 2 — 



" I sound not for the souls of the dead but to the ears of the living," 

and in 1678 William Purdue of Bristol, perhaps with the dread 
of James II.'s advent to the throne in his mind, gives vent at 
Stanley St. Leonard, Gloucs., to the prayer — 


On the other hand this sentiment may be directed at Puritan 
as well as Papist if we may take "HYPOCRITE" as referring 

1 Church Bells, p. 7. 

- ('/'. the inscription " non nomen fero ficti," &c, given above p. 332 . 


to the former ; and the fact that he has not hesitated to place 
on another bell of the same date in that tower the words 
IN HONOREM ST. PETRI FECIT FIERI, &c, suggests that 
he was not altogether bigoted. Controversial theology, however, 
seldom finds its way into church towers, and though an inscription 
of 1622 at Elsing in Norfolk — 


might fitly have been applied seventy years earlier or twenty-five 
years later, the sentiment is of universal application. 

The founders of this period were much addicted to blowing 
their own trumpets, or at all events to sounding the praises of 
their own bells. A favourite formula, invented by the New- 
combes of Leicester at the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
and imitated by several of later date, is — 


This is hardly improved upon by Henry Farmer at Throck- 
morton, Worcestershire — 


or again at Lugwardine, Herefordshire, by John Greene — 


The effect of the last line is somewhat further marred by its 
being set upside down and reversed, " as in a looking-glass " ! 

Eighteenth- century founders followed on the same lines, as at 
Binfield, Berks. — ■ 


and Ickworth, Suffolk — 


The Bilbies of Chewstoke, Somerset, were great versifiers, and 
we find at Cullompton, Devon — 



or at Churchill, Somerset, where the rhyme is equally un- 
successful — 


A more ambitious attempt is at Mark, Somerset — 






Henry Pleasant, the predecessor of the Gardiner already quoted, 
was not only a rhymester but a great punster as well ; and not 
content with a simple boast at Ipswich St. Nicholas, to the 
effect that — 


at All Saints, Maldon, in Essex, he records his doings in this 
playful strain — 


The following, at Meriden, Warwickshire, is also probably a 
weak attempt at a pun, the founder's name being Brooke — 


It is perhaps regrettable that even a nineteenth-century founder 
should have fallen a victim to the same craze, for we find at 
Pilton, Devon, the words — 




IN LONDON 1.8.5 .and 1. 



But not content with puffing their own performances, some 
founders must needs have their gibe at their contemporaries or 
predecessors ; it was thought very smart to immortalise in verse 
the bad work of a rival. At Wickham Market, Suffolk, the 
recasting of a bell of " Colchester " Grave's by a Norwich founder 
inspired the latter as follows — 


But this is comparatively mild. A severer criticism is on a bell 
at Richmond (Surrey) — 


This finds a parallel in the well-known lines at Badgworth, 
Gloucestershire, where Alexander Rigby's reputation is thus 
gibbeted — 




At Edwardstone, Suffolk, the tenor has — 



THO. GARDINER (on the 2nd are the words "tuned by Wm, 
Culpeck 1 7 10 ''). 

The Bilbies come out very strong in this line, especially at 
Somerton, Somerset — 



or again at Dunkerton in the same county — 


1 Runned, i.e., cast or run through the mould. 


But the whirligig of time brought in its revenges, and in 1758 
a Chepstow founder proudly proclaims at Backwell — 


Boastful inscriptions of a more anonymous or miscellaneous 
character abound. Of such is one to be found at St. Benet's, 
Cambridge — 


or again at Clun Hospital, Shropshire — ■ 


A third from the county of Somerset, so prolific in this respect, 
is at Churchill — 


and one from Great Ashfield, Suffolk, runs — 


A specimen of the wit that sets the pothouse on a roar. Here 
is another from Dorset (observe the spelling of " banged " and 
" hanged ") — 

Fitzpaine, 1658). 

Many inscriptions refer to the circumstances under which the 
bells were cast, as at Alvechurch, Worcestershire (the rhyme lies 
concealed in the date) — 


or at Perranarworthal, Cornwall — 



1 Bush ; cf. Cullompton above. 


That campanology has ever been a well of inspiration we may- 
learn fn»m the tower of St. Benet, Cambridge — 






Here again, as at Alvechurch, the cursory reader should not 
overlook the rhyme in the date. The word " tackling " seems to 
be an ingenious device for finding a rhyme to Jacklin, but it 
may of course refer to assistance rendered by him in pulling the 
bell up into the belfry. Unquestionably the best example of 
a perpetuation of parochial negotiations over the casting of a 
bell is at Northfield, Worcestershire, where the whole story is 
told on five of the six bells successively — 







At North Tamerton, Cornwall, the devotion and public- 
spiritedness of two local worthies is duly recorded as follows — 




A similar spirit animated anonymous donors at Aldbourne, 


and one John Holden of Burgh, Lines. — 






Equally numerous arc inscriptions in which the bells speak 
of their musical sound or of the purposes lor which they were 
hung. Thus we have at Great Dunmow, Essex — 


or at He Abbots, Somerset — 




or with more picturesqueness than poetry at Dunkerton in the 
same county — 




and at Eckington, Worcestershire — 


Of similar import are the lines placed on a ring of six seven- 
teenth-century bells at Thatcham, Berks., by Knight of Reading 
(the tenor has been recast, but the inscription it bore may be 
recovered from Bradfield in the same count)) — 







Similar lines in an extended and more elaborate form appear on 
a ring at Ticehurst, Sussex, by Janaway, dated 1 77 1 ; and some 
highly-elaborated couplets were on the old ring at Bakewell, 
Derbyshire, cast in 1796, of which two may be given here (from 
the Sth and 8th bells)— 










Other inscriptions refer more or less explicitly to the uses of 
bells and the occasions on which they were rung, of which we 
recapitulate a few from Chaps. V.-VII. A modest couplet at 
St. Margaret, Ipswich (1630), runs — 



which later was regularly adopted by Abraham Rudhall of 
Gloucester for his tenor bells in a more familiar form — 


At Hedon, Yorkshire, we have the laconic injunction — 


On Sunday the bells of Blakesley, Northants, remind the 
parishioners of their duties as follows — 


while on week-days the working folk of Coventry were 
summoned at an early hour and dismissed at a late one with 
this reminder — 



The fire-bell of Sherborne, Dorset, bears the appropriate 
couplet — 


with a suggestion that " Heaven helps those who help them- 
selves." The eight bells of St. Ives, Hunts., each bear a motto 
of a pertinent nature : on the 1st — 


on the 4th — 


on the 5 th — 


and so on. While at Ware, Herts., the uses of the bells are 
summed up in a few lines — 


Many of the eighteenth-century inscriptions, especially during 
the latter half, are thoroughly typical of that period, with 
its catchword of "Church and State" and its generally decorous 
and worldly churchmanship. Those were the days when "the 
Bloomsbury people put good King George on the top of 
their steeple " ; and when all but a few Methodists held these 
orthodox views, many a bell was inscribed with verse of 
unquestionable loyalty. The Rudhalls of Gloucester are the 
great upholders of these principles, with their wearisome 
iterations of — 




of England) 

and so on. The horror of Methodism which was felt by the 
orthodox in the days of Wesley's preaching is characteristically 
expressed at Welwyn, Herts., and Whittlesea, Cambs. — 



But if the churchmanship of the time displays itself as lifeless 
and narrow, the patriotic sentiments often expressed on the bells 
are truly exemplary. Some examples of this are given in the 
next section dealing with inscriptions of historical interest. Of 
more general character are two at St. Chad's, Shrewsbury 




The last rhyme shows that sea must have been pronounced 
" say," just as " tea " was " tay." 

The inscriptions on this ring of twelve bells were the work of 
a local poet named Wilding, a schoolmaster at High Ercall. 
His effusions adorn other belfries in the neighbourhood (e.g., St. 
Alkmund's, Shrewsbury), and the founder Mears was so pleased 
with those composed for his bells at St. Chad's, that he frequently 
makes use of them elsewhere. But Wilding was nothing if not 
topical, and on two of the bells in his own parish church he 
immortalises the physical features of the locality as follows — 


TAIN'S SIDE (the Wrekin). 



A similar vein of sentiment of the type popularised by Cowper, 
Thomson, and other poets of the age pervades most of the 
inscriptions of the period, and especially those of the White- 


chapel founders. The eight bells of St. Austell, Cornwall, arc 
good specimens — 









The favourite inscriptions of Lester, Pack, and Chapman 
(1760- 1 780) are — 













The last couplet is a specimen of the bad taste only too 
common at this period ; it finds parallel- at Stroud, Gloucs., and 
at Hath Abbey — 




A less offensive version (from Holbeach, Lines.) is — 


Bad taste of a different kind is exemplified in the following, 
on the tenor at Hornsey, Middlesex — 


The eighteenth-century founder had so far forgotten his Maker 
in his anxiety to glorify himself and his patrons, that the next 
step to Paganism was an easy matter. 

Historical allusions are not infrequently to be found on 
church bells, and several rings of more recent date commemorate 
victories which had recently been won by our arms. The most 
famous instance is that of the eight bells at St. Helen, Worcester, 
cast by Richard Sanders in 1706, which commemorate the 
victories of Marlborough in Flanders and Germany. Each bell 
bears the name of a battle and an appropriate couplet. A ring 
of eight put up at Brightling in Sussex in 1818 similarly bear 
couplets celebrating eight of Wellington's victories, in the Penin- 
sula and at Waterloo. A bell at Sileby in Leicestershire rejoices 
over the victory at Culloden in 1745 — 


" In honour of William, Duke of Cumberland, who with victorious arms 
overthrew the Scottish rebels," 

and another at Ashover, Derbyshire, says — 


A similar fate befel the three bells of Great Packington, Warwick- 
shire, one of which was broken in 1805 when ringing for the 
victory at Trafalgar. 

At Fareham, Hants, the fate of the Young Pretender in 1745 
is even more vividly expressed — 






It is perhaps worth noting that the founder of this bell with its 
fiercely patriotic sentiments bore the appropriate name of 

At Irton Hall, Cumberland, the Old Pretender is more 
tersely commemorated — 

ANNO DOM : 1715. 

"The impostor put to flight in the second year of King George, A.n. 171 5." 

There is a good deal of English history in the following, from 
Liversedge, Yorks. — 


and in this staccato outburst of thanksgiving — 


"The tyrant overthrown; Europe freed; the peace desired now for 
twenty years, agreed upon ; Praise to God." 

The 3rd bell at Damerham, Wilts., records a different aspect 
of history — 


At Hanwell, Oxon., and Littlebury, Essex, in 1789 and 1790 
respectively, we have a special reference to the reigning 
sovereign — 


Another reference to Royalty is of a different and somewhat 
unexpected kind. At Child Okeford, Dorset, a bell was cast 


at the very height of the Civil War, and apparently to mask its 
dangerous dedication some of the letters were stamped upside 
down. We certainly should not have supposed that in 1648 
anyone would have been sufficiently courageous to place on 
a bell 


but that is how the inscription runs. 

Or again the bell gives its own history at full length. A 
good instance is the tenor at Stepney, London, which tells us — 

"The late tenor w' 49 cwts. was given to the Priory of the Holy Trinity 
Dukes Place Aldgate by Nicholas Chadworth and renewed by Thomas 
Marson 1386 was sold with three others by S r Thomas Audley to the Parish 
of St. Dunstans Stepney about the year 1540 Recast 1602 1764 and 1799 the 
late peal of eight bells were recast into ten by Thomas Mears & Son 1806." 

At Brixton in the Isle of Wight the treble bell tells a similar 
tale, ending with a moral — 

" In the year 1740 John Lord zealous for the promotion of Campanologia's 
art caused me to be fabricated in Portsmouth and placed in this tower. 
60 years I led the peal then I was unfortunately broken. In the year 
1800 I was cast in the furnace refounded in London and return'd to my 
former station. Reader thou also shalt know a resurrection may it be unto 
eternal life." 

A similar inscription occurs at Glasgow Cathedral. 

A peculiar form of inscription is that known as the Chrono- 
gram, in which the date is concealed in the Roman numerals, 
which where they occur are indicated in larger type, and on 
being added together give the year in which the bell was cast. 
The earliest instance of this seems to be at Clifton-on-Teme, 
Worcestershire, where the inscription on the treble is — 


The larger letters MDCLVVVIII make the Roman numerals for 
1668, the year in which the bells were cast. Others occur 
at Badsey in that county, at Hinton, Gloucs., at Bridgnorth St. 
Leonard and West Felton, Salop ; 1 and modern examples at 
Pebmarsh, Essex, and Ryton, Shropshire. 

It would seem that it has always been customary for founders 
to make an extra charge for putting an inscription on a bell. 
It is not often that we can derive any evidence on this point 
from old parish accounts ; but at St.-Mary-at-Hill, London, in 

1 See Assoc. Archit, Soc. Reports, xxv. p. 586 ; Shropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans. , 
3rd Ser., ii. p. 195 ; Hilton, Chronograms, i. p. 5, iii. pp. 14, 470 ; for foreign 
examples, ibid., i. pp. 70 ff., 199, 213, ii. p. 566 ff. 


1510 a charge was made of 13s. 4(1. "for makyng the scripture 
abought the bell." 1 Similarly at St. Mary Woolchurch in 15X5 
a charge of 3s. 4c!. was made for placing on the bell " The yeare 
of o r Lord the p'son and churchwardens names." 2 The cost of 
this cannot have been more than one penny per letter. Let us 
hope, however, that when a founder put his own name on the 
bell he did not make any charge. Nowadays the usual charge 
for an inscription is 3d. or 4d. per letter, but there is at least one 
firm which makes no charge at all for an inscription of reason- 
able length and simplicity. 

1 Littlehales, Medieval Retards of a City Chunk (Early Eng. Text Hoc, 
125), p. 274. 

2 Trans. St. PauPs Eccles. Soc, vi. (1907) p. 117. 


THE number of bells existing in England in mediaeval times 
was probably greater than at the present day, at least of 
those used for religious purposes. Besides the parish churches, 
all the religious houses, those of monks, nuns, friars, and regular 
canons, possessed bells, as well as the cathedrals and collegiate 
churches. But with the exception of the cathedrals, all these 
were despoiled of their bells at the Dissolution. 1 The bells of 
these establishments, with the lead of the roofs, were valued 
separately, and next to the plate and jewels and the lead, were 
probably the most valuable part of the royal booty. The 
documents relating to the despoiled abbeys and other monastic 
bodies in Gloucestershire 2 give some instructive information 
as to the weight and value of the bells confiscated from them 
in the time of Edward VI. From Hailes Abbey five bells 
weighing in all 68 cwt. 17 lbs. 3 were handed over by warrant 
of the Lord Chancellor in 1554 to Stratford-on-Avon. At 
Winchcombe a ring of eight bells, weighing in all over 6,300 
lbs., was valued at .£60, but only fetched ,£40. Bristol also 
yielded much spoil. The monastery of St. Augustine had ten 
bells (some probably quite small) weighing in all 10 cwt. ; the 
priory of St. Mark three estimated at 20 cwt. In Worcester 
the Black Friars had two great bells which were sold to one 
Grymes for ,£23. 15s. 4 North gives some other examples from 
the smaller religious houses in Lincolnshire, 5 the bells of which 
fetched sums varying from £6. 18s. at Greenfield to ^43 at 

These confiscated bells were in many cases sold or handed 
over to private individuals, by whom they were placed in 
neighbouring churches ; but others were broken up for con- 

1 See Gasquet, Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries, pp. 273, 420. 

2 Given verbatim by Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Gloucs., p. 201 if. 

3 The respective weights are given as (approximately) 9, 10, 12, 15, and 
20 cwt. 

4 Assoc. Archit. Soc. Reports, xxv. p. 573. 
6 Lines., p. 21. 



venience and sold over the seas as bell-metal, in spite of the 
legislative efforts at prevention made by Henry VIII. 1 and 
Edward VI. But their efforts were not made for any higher 
reason than to prevent foreign nations using the metal to make 
cannon. In 154" a special licence was granted to John Core, 
citizen and grocer of London, 2 to convey and sell "in the ports 
beyond the sea," a hundred thousand pounds' weight of bells 
and bell-metal for £900. This included two bells brought 
from the Minories, London, weighing 14 cwt., and three from 
the monastery of Grace weighing nearly 40 cwt. A document 
addressed to King Edward VI. 's Council by Thomas Egerton is 
in the form of a tender for "all the bell metall that his Highe- 
nesse nowe hath in the realme at the price of xxs. everie 
hunderith waighte" to be delivered at ports to be shipped 
abroad. 3 We hear of large consignments of bell-metal lying 
for shipment at Lynn, Grimsby, and elsewhere. 

Various stories are current relating to the loss of bells at sea 
when they had been thus sent abroad, particularly in Norfolk. 
"In sending them over the sea," says Spelman, 4 "some were 
drowned in one haven, some in another, as at Lynn, Wells, or 
Yarmouth." At Hunstanton one was said to have been found 
at an exceptionally low tide. 5 In 1541 Arthur Bulkley, Bishop 
of Bangor, sold " the five fair bells belonging to his cathedral, 
and went to the seaside to see them shipped away ; but at that 
instant was stricken blind and continued so to the day of his 
death." Similar punishment for sacrilege befel Sir Miles 
Partridge, who, in gambling with Henry VIII., won from him 
the bells in the clochard of Old St. Paul's Cathedral, and had 
them broken up and sold for the value of the metal. 7 But retri- 
bution followed, for he was hanged in the following reign. 8 

So many bells were thrown on the market by these con- 
fiscations that the price of bell-metal went down seriously. 
Thomas Cromwell could only get 15s. a hundredweight for the 
bells of Jervaulx Abbey. Similar evidence may be derived 

1 By Acts in the 21st and 33rd years of his reign (Dunkin, Cornwall, 
p. 9). 

2 Ellacombe, Ch. Bells of Gloucs., Suppl., p. 137 ; Augm. Ofhce Books, 
212, p. 4. 

3 Cf. the instance of Brightlingsea, Essex {infra., p. 353 . 

4 Hist, and Fate of Sacrilege, 1895 edn., p. 159. 

6 L'Estrange, Norfolk, p. 4. 
G Spelman, op. cit., p. 161. 

7 Stow's Survey, ed. Kingsford, i. p. 330 ; Spelman, p. 160. 

8 For many similar stories see Raven, Bells of England, p. 281 ff. : 
Arch, fourn., xlviii. p. 62 ft". ; T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 81 ff; and 
Spelman, op. cit . 


from the Inventories of 1552, in which there is constant 
mention of bells sold for comparatively small sums. 

Thus there arose a considerable trade in second-hand bells. 
In London about this time there are records of the existence 
of so-called " founders " to whom no bells can be traced, and 
who were probably not actual craftsmen, but merely dealers in 
second-hand bells. This circumstance may also account for the 
curious geographical distribution of some existing ancient bells. 
Here and there bells are found at such a distance from their 
foundries that, considering the difficulties of transport in early 
times, it seems most likely that they changed their habitat 
about the time of the Reformation. Only in this way can we 
account for the presence of a bell from the Nottingham foundry 
at Luddesdown in Kent, or of one from the Norwich foundry at 
Ford Abbey on the borders of Dorset and Devon. At Wissett, 
Suffolk, there is a bell from the Bristol foundry ; at Upton 
Magna, Salop, one from Exeter. Another possible instance is 
a bell from Wokingham at Sible Hedingham, Essex ; and a 
fourth at Chiselborough, Somerset, is from the foundry of 
Stephen Norton (1363- 1392) at Maidstone. This, however, is 
not a certain instance. There is another bell at Chiselborough 
cast by Norton's London successor, William Burford, and 
Norton also cast a bell for Worcester Cathedral. At Abberley 
in Worcestershire there is an ancient bell which was probably 
cast at York, and is certainly of north-country origin. As the 
rector there in the time of the Reformation came from York- 
shire, it is possible that he brought the bell with him from 
some dissolved religious house. 

Of the fate of many of the bells from the great abbeys there 
is much evidence, documentary and traditional. The bells of 
Oseney Abbey were transferred to Christ Church, Oxford, and 
two of the original ones, dating from about 1410, still remain. 
The old 6th bell at St. Andrew, Norwich, 1 recast in 1566, and 
again in 1623, came from the monastery of the Black Friars, 
and one at Ormskirk, Lancashire, from Burscough Abbey (as its 
inscription shews). Bells from Leicester Abbey went to Peter- 
borough, and others from Bodmin Priory were sold to Lanivet, 
Cornwall, for £56. 13s. 4d., as a receipt of 1538 shews. 2 The 
bells of Bordesley Abbey, Worcestershire, were bought by Sir 
John Russell of Strensham, and placed by him in his parish 
church, as stated in the Inventory of 1552 — 

"Therbe iij bells hangyng in the stepull wyche Sir John Russell Knyght 
of late bowght to his owne use of the Kyngs maiestie decessyd wiche were 

1 L'Estrange, Norfolk, p. 171. 

2 Dunkin, C/i. Bells of Cornwall, p. 3. 


perteyning to the late dessolvyd abbey of Borseley wiche bells y c same Sir 
John Russell ys yet indetted for and be the goods of the same Sir John 
Russell." 1 

All over the country, too, there are traditions, which may 
often be founded on fact, of bells having come from monastic 
establishments. Two dated bells of 1400 and 1410 at Thirsk 
and Terrington, Yorkshire, are said to have come from Fountains 
Abbey, and another at Osmotherley from Mount Grace Priory. 
In Shropshire bells at Baschurch and Great Ness are said to 
have come from Valle Crucis Abbey near Llangollen ; one 
at Ennerdale in Cumberland from Calder Abbey ; and many 
similar instances might be cited. 

It has sometimes been stated, even by competent writers, 2 
that King Edward VI. 's commissioners refused to leave more 
than a single bell to each parish church ; but there is plenty of 
evidence to shew that such a belief is quite unfounded. Pro- 
bably Strype is responsible for the error. The fact is that only 
monastic bells were generally confiscated, though the Edwardian 
Inventories give many instances of parochial bells sold or stolen. 8 
Not only are there numbers of parishes, especially in Devonshire 
and East Anglia, where rings of three, four, and even five bells 
of pre- Reformation date still hang untouched in the same tower 
in which they were first put up ; but this number also corre- 
sponds in most cases to that given in the Edwardian Inventory, 
where such exists. This is the case at St. Laurence, Ipswich, 
one of the two churches which still possess a ring of five 
"ancients," 4 where the 1553 Inventory gives " Itm in the steeple 
V bells." Instances might easily be multiplied. 

But, as noted above, the Edwardian Inventories are not with- 
out their tale of bells lost to parish churches either by sale or 
by theft. Framlingham Pigott in Norfolk had no bells in 1552, 
" ij bells having been stolen abowght iij yercs past." In Essex 
bells are reported as stolen from the parishes of Little Bentley, 
Bradfield, Hawkwell, and Rochford, and a dozen or more other 
parishes had had one or more of their bells sold. At Brightling- 
sea the commissioners report that a "lytyll bell" had been 
" hayd into shype namyd the mary rose," which seems to account 

1 M. Walcott in Assoc. Arcliit. Soc. Reports, xi. p. 334. They were 
recast in the eighteenth century. 

2 Cf. Jessopp, Great Pillage, p. 52 ; Strype, Memorials of Crantner, ii. 
chap. 26. 

3 Cf. for instance those of Essex given in the Church Hells of that county, 
and in the Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., Vols, iv.-v., .VS. i.-iii. 

4 The other is St. Bartholomew the Great, London, where the five bells, 
cast about 15 10, represent the "parochial" ring of the Priory church. See 
above, p. 190. 



for a popular tradition that some of the bells had been lost at 
sea on their way to be recast. 1 It will, however, be found 
on investigation that in most cases the bells sold were sanctus 
or sacring or hand-bells for which the parish had no further use 
under the new regime, and that the rule was that the larger bells 
were left undisturbed. It must again be emphasised that the 
confiscations of bells above alluded to are almost entirely from 
the monastic establishments. 

Before the Reformation the usual complement for a village 
belfry seems to have been two large bells and one small one, 
to judge by the Inventory returns ; the more important parish 
churches usually had four or five, with an assortment of smaller 
bells. Where there was only one small bell it was doubtless 
often used both as a sacring and a sanctus bell {cf. p. 123) as 
well as for other purposes. 

But that even after the Reformation England still abounded 
in bells is indicated by the words of Bishop Latimer, in a sermon 
preached by him in 1552. " I think," he says, "if all the bells 
in England should be rung together at the same hour, there 
would be almost no place but some bells might be heard there. 
And so the devil should have no abiding-place in England, if 
ringing of bells should serve." 

After the confiscation and deportation of bells had been 
going on for some time the authorities seem to have been 
awakened to the conviction that what might have been made 
into good English cannon was making good foreign cannon, 
which might at some time be put in use against themselves. 
This is probably the reason why statutes were passed again 
and again by Henry VIII. (1529 and 1 541 ) and Edward VI. 
forbidding the export of bells or bell-metal (see above, p. 351), 
statutes which remained unrepealed till the reign of George III. 
Further attempts were made by Elizabeth to check the destruc- 
tion of bells by a proclamation of 1560 2 stating that "some 
patrons of churches had prevailed with the parson and parishioners 
to take or throw down the bells of churches or chapels and to 
convert the same to their private gain," and forbidding the 
practice under pain of imprisonment. 

Nevertheless great numbers of bells perished, not only in the 
time of Elizabeth, but more recently. In Lincolnshire it is 
calculated by North that some four hundred bells have dis- 
appeared since the Reformation. In Edward VI.'s time there 

1 There were certainly four large bells here in 1552, of which one still 
remains, but in 1760 there were only two, and now only one. See Ch. Bells 
of Essex, p. 192. 

2 Tyssen, Ch. Bells of Sussex, p. 20. 


was only one church in that county which had not at least two 
"great bells" ; now there are about two hundred churches which 
have only one apiece. At Skidbrook two bells were sold for 
^20, and part of the money expended in scouring out the haven, 
then choked with sand. 1 In the eighteenth century again 
parsimony led to the sale of bells for the repair of churches 
in many places, not only in Lincolnshire but elsewhere. At 
Thimbleby a ring of six was sacrificed to substitute a Classical 
for a Gothic church.'- The churchyard of St. Stephen, Norwich, 
being thought too small, four out of the five bells were sold in 
1 79 1 to enlarge it. :i Between about 1677 and 1840 licences were 
issued at Norwich authorising the sale or recasting of some 
450 bells ; of these probably only about half were cracked. 
In Norfolk, out of 150 bells recorded to be in existence in 
1750, about fifty have since disappeared. The good people of 
Sandridge, Herts., have lost a bell, and cannot make up their 
minds whether their ancestors sold it to \\ neathampstead, or 
if it was stolen by their neighbours at Hatfield. There are 
similar traditions of loss or theft of bells in many other places, 
where the bells hanging in one steeple are claimed to have 
belonged originally to another parish. 

Then again we have such productions of local wits as that 
current about Arlesey, Bedfordshire — 

"Arlesey, Arlesey, naughty people, 
Sold the bells to mend the steeple." 

In Scotland there is an even worse instance — 

" Was there e'er sic a parish as little Dunkell ? 
They sticket the minister, hanged the precentor, 
Dang down the steeple and drunk up the bell." 

Aylestone in Leicestershire possessed a society of enthusiastic 
ringers, who carried off the solitary bell of the ruined church of 
Knaptoft ; but stopping for drink at Shearsby on their way 
home, they were plied with plenty of good ale by the inhabitants, 
who found opportunity meanwhile to carry off the Knaptoft bell, 
and add it to their own peal. 4 

The theft of bells went on even down into the nineteenth 
century. About 1830 a bell was stolen from ( nerington church 
in Gloucestershire, and put up in the neighbouring tower of 
Avening/' The second bell of Worcester Cathedral was stolen 

1 North, Ch. Bells of Lines. , p. 35. 

- //>/</., p. 36. 

:: L'Estrange, Ch. Bells of Norfolk, p. 7. 

4 North, Ch. Bells of Leics., p. ^74- 

5 Ellacombe, C/i. Bells of Gloucs., Supplt., p. 144. 


during the restoration in the 'sixties, and the "ting-tang" of 
Pershore Abbey in 1863 under similar circumstances. 1 Other 
instances are quoted from Abson, Gloucs., Church Brampton, 
Northants, and Glossop, Derbyshire ; and traditions to the same 
effect are current in many places. 

But the most flagrant instance of the sale of bells is supplied 
by the history of the bells of King's College, Cambridge. 2 A 
magnificent ring of five heavy bells was presented by the 
munificent founder, King Henry VI., about 1443 (not by Pope 
Calixtus as has been stated on very insufficient evidence). 3 This 
ring passed through various vicissitudes, different bells being 
frequently recast or even exchanged, during a period of three 
hundred years, but still remained intact. In 1727, however, it is 
recorded that the three largest bells were cracked, and the 
College, instead of replacing them, finally in 1755 sold the whole 
five to Lester of Whitechapel for the sum of £533. 10s. 3d. 
Their weights are given above, p. 96, and some further 
description on p. 189. 

The Puritans, on the other hand, were not as inimical to bells 
as might have been expected. It is, for instance, sometimes 
stated that the Commonwealth was a time when little bell- 
founding was done. But a careful examination of the careers 
of founders living about this time, such as Miles Graye of 
Colchester, the Purdues of Bristol, or the Hodsons of London, 
will shew that their activity between 1650 and 1660 was almost 
as great as after the Restoration. On the other hand bells of 
the preceding eight years (1642-1650) are surprisingly rare ; and 
it is quite clear that the Civil War did much more harm to the 
founders by checking their industry, than was done to the bells 
themselves, either by the ravages of William Dowsing and his 
gangs, or by any Puritan dislike of the sound of the bells. As 
a rule the devastators of East Anglian brasses, stained glass, 
and wood-carving did not trouble to ascend the towers to scent 
out Popish inscriptions, and when they did, they contented 
themselves with filing off anything which displeased their eyes. 
In 1644 at Bressingham in Norfolk 3s. 4d. was paid to John Nun 
for removing " the letters about the bells," 4 which still remain 
to shew the extent of his ravages, though two of them are still 
quite legible. At Stow Bardolph in the same county two very 

1 T. Dyer, Church Lore Gleanings, p. 80. 

2 See Clark, Canib. Antig. Co/nm., iv. p. 223 ff. ; Raven, Ch. Bells of 
Cambs., p. 28. 

3 An alternative tradition that they were brought from France by Henry V*. 
after Agincourt is less improbable. But one was certainly newly cast in 


4 L'Estrange, Norfolk, p. 10G. Cf p. 328 above. 


innocuous inscriptions of the seventeenth century have suffered 
a similar fate. 

Bells, however, are easily cracked, and ringers are careless ; 
and many bells doubtless have been spoiled by wear and tear, 
even when not always avoidable ; and when cracked they have 
been sold instead of being recast. Much havoc in this respect 
must also have been caused by the introduction of change- 
ringing late in the seventeenth century, which necessitated the 
recasting of untuned rings, or of substituting six or eight lighter 
bells, easier to ring, for three or four heavy ancient ones. The 
alternative, to combine or "splice" the necessary additional 
bells with the old set, was rarely practicable, and seldom 
attempted. The richer the town or parish, the more likely it 
was to tamper with its bells, and thus it is in the out-of-the-way 
villages and the smaller churches, like Caversfield, Claughton, or 
Chaldon, that the ancient bells are more frequently found. Still, 
change-ringing and the consequent increase in the size of rings 
have done much to bring up the total number of bells again to 
something; like its former amount. 


THE science of campanology, in the literary or archaeological 
sense of the word, has a twofold object, namely to 
ascertain the dates and the foundries at which bells were cast 
when they do not themselves give the necessary information. 

Since about 1570 it has been an almost invariable custom 
to stamp bells with the date of their casting ; but in mediaeval 
times this was not the case. As we have noted elsewhere 
(p. 317), only about thirty mediaeval English bells yield this 
important information. Consequently we must have recourse 
to other criteria in order to assign an approximate date to most 
ancient bells. For this purpose it is obvious that those bells 
which have an actual date upon them are most valuable evidence 
for comparison with the undated bells, in respect of shape, 
lettering, stamps, and style of inscription. 

The shape of a bell is in itself a most important criterion. 
An English bell conspicuously long from cannons to sound-bow, 
and proportionately cylindrical in the waist, 1 at once raises a 
presumption of early date. From comparison with dateable 
specimens we are able to distinguish two successive develop- 
ments in the form of the bell during the Plantagenet period. 
Down to the time when inscriptions first begin to appear 
regularly and founders' names also make their appearance, not 
only on the bells, but also in documentary records, the height 
of the bell is out of all proportion to the diameter at the mouth, 
and the crown is arched in a hemispherical form, while the 
sound-bow projects very slightly and at a sharp angle. Many 
bells of this type still hang in church towers and turrets, 
especially in the more out-of-the-way districts, such as South 
Shropshire and Northumberland. In the former county there 
are at least eight examples hanging in the bell-cots of the 
smaller churches, 2 often accompanied by a later blank example 

1 It has already been noted in Chap. I. that on the Continent, especially 
in Italy, the "long-waisted" type survives all through the mediaeval period. 
- See Salop Arch. Soc. Trans., 4th Ser., i. p. 30. 




which is instructive for comparison of form. Other good 
examples may be noted at Cambridge All Saints, Kennet, 
and Elm, Cambridgeshire ; Little Braxted, Essex ; Bramshaw, 
Hants; Iwade, Kent; Snettisham, Norfolk (359); Halam, 
Notts.; Word well, Suffolk ; Manningford Abbots, Wilts. (360) ; 
Ribbesford and Oldberrow, Worcestershire. To this class also 
belongs the remarkable bell at Caversfield (p. 21), which is 
invaluable as a criterion for the date of the group. Most of 
them probably belong to the thirteenth century, but there 
is no reason why some should not be even earlier. 

About the end of the thir- 
teenth century a marked change 
comes over the shape of the bell, 
and though the cylindrical " long- 
waisted " outline is still pre- 
served, the crown is much flat- 
tened, and almost forms a right 
angle with the sides ; the sound- 
bow again forms a more graceful 
curve at the base of the bell. 
An inscription-band is almost 
always found on these bells of 
the fourteenth century, even 
when it is left blank ; it is usually 
formed by two parallel mouldings 
round the top of the shoulder. 
Bells of this type are not con- 
sidered convenient for proper 
ringing, i.e., for "raising" and 
" setting " in changes, and though 
they are usually superior in 
sound, the change-ringer prefers 
a shorter and more compact bell, 
which can be fastened closely up 
into the headstock, and thus raised with far less exertion than 
a long-waisted bell of similar weight. But there are exceptions ; 
and ancient bells are not invariably conspicuous for unusual 
length in waist. Contrariwise some later founders affect quite 
an archaic type of bell, even in the seventeenth century or later ; 
this is the case with the Cors of Aldbourne, Thomas Roberts of 
Shrewsbury, and sometimes the Rudhalls. 

After the introduction of the fourteenth-century type there 
are no more marked changes in shape to be observed. The 
evolution of the modern type of bell is quite gradual, and was 
achieved almost unconsciously. Hence it is much more difficult 





to date a blank bell of later make than an earlier one, and it is 
rather to the style of the mouldings and other small details 
that we look than to the shape, in judging such specimens. 

So far we have been discussing bells without inscriptions, 
where form and outline are our only guide. We now come to 
the inscribed mediaeval bells, from about 1300 onwards; and 
find that where such bells are not dated, we can often ascertain 
their period far more closely from the style of the inscription and 
lettering than from their shape. As a rule, the earlier the bell, 
the shorter and simpler the inscription, merely a saint's name 

or the simple form 
of the Salutation, 
letters being widely 
spaced, often with- 
out stops. Another 
early variety of in- 
scription is the for- 
with the saint's 
name, as at Chaldon, 
Surrey, and Bes- 
ford, Worcs. ; or IN 
as at Caversfield, 
Oxon. The evi- 
dence, however, 
afforded by the use 
simply of the name 
of a saint must be 
treated with caution, 
at any rate in the 
Midlands, as the 
Newcombes of Leicester produced many in the sixteenth century 
with brief inscriptions of this type, as PETRE or S. PAVLE 
(see p. 328). And on the other hand some lengthy inscriptions 
of early date are known, as at Goring, Oxon. (p. 185). 

About the middle of the fourteenth century we meet with 
two innovations: the use of the formula ORA PRO NOBIS 
with the saint's name, and the leonine or rhyming hexameter. 
Down to about 15 50 nearly all mediaeval inscriptions are cast 
in the one or the other form. These are fully dealt with in 
the preceding chapters. 

Ancient blank bell, Manningford Abbots, Wilts. 


The style of lettering used is even more valuable as 
evidence. The earliest types used are either actually Roman, 
as at Caversfield, or Gothic approximating to Roman, as at 
Chaldon, and elsewhere. Certain letters, E, M, N, and T, appear 
in Roman form even after the general use of Gothic, and where 
they occur are usually a sign of early date {cf. p. 282). It may 
be also laid down as a general rule that Gothic letters are at 
first not only simpler and less ornate in form, but smaller in size. 
Towards the latter half of the fourteenth century they become 
more elaborate and ornate, and are often of considerable size. 
The use of black-letter smalls or minuscules cannot be traced 
before the end of the fourteenth century in English inscriptions, 1 
and these for a century or so are always combined with Gothic 
capitals for initials ; it is not until the sixteenth century that we 
meet with inscriptions wholly in black-letter. On the other 
hand, it must not be supposed that inscriptions wholly in 
capitals are confined to the fourteenth century ; such is far from 
being the case. Some foundries, especially in the north and 
west, never adopted black-letter at all, or only in rare instances. 
Others revived the use of capitals about the middle of the 
sixteenth century, as at Reading. In many parts of England, 
therefore, caution must be exercised in using the evidence of 

The initial crosses which precede nearly all mediaeval 
inscriptions and many of later date are of more value for 
identifying" founders than establishing dates ; and for the latter 
purpose the intervening stops between the words are really 
more instructive. The latter (see Chap. XIII.) are chiefly found 
in Gothic inscriptions, where the words would not be otherwise 
easily distinguished, and on the earlier bells consist of two or 
three roundlets vertically placed. About the middle of the 
fourteenth century more elaborate varieties of the stop make 
their appearance, the roundlets being replaced by quatrefoils, 
stars, lozenges, or rosettes ; or the stop takes the form of a 
crown, or fleur-de-lys, or other device. Some fifteenth-century 
founders use stops with black-letter inscriptions, as for instance 
those of Bristol and Bury St. Edmund's ; others, like the Brasyers 
of Norwich, employ a stop at the caesura or after the first half of 
a rhyming hexameter. 

Such are the principal criteria by which we may attain to 
a more or less approximate dating of mediaeval bells. But the 
student of comparative campanology is not content with mere 
dating ; he also aspires to assign each bell to its respective 
foundry, or even individual founder. The names of founders 
1 The only exceptions are one or two Flemish brasses ; see above, p. 281. 


rarely occur on mediaeval bells (see p. 315), and they are fre- 
quently absent from those of later date ; but in the latter case 
our task is simpler, as we know the exact date of the bell and 
only have to discover the place of its casting. 

In order to assign any bell, of whatever date, to its proper 
source, we look first for any kind of trade-mark or foundry- 
stamp, such as are described in Chap. XIII. ; if this is absent, we 
have still the testimony of lettering, crosses, and other forms of 
ornamentation. Of late years much attention has been given 
to the identification of old foundry-stamps, crosses, and lettering ; 
and the results are to be found in the various county histories 
now published. 1 But finality has not yet been reached. Some 
counties have been imperfectly published ; others are as yet 
only partially investigated ; and everywhere there are church- 
wardens' accounts and other documents awaiting investigation, 
from which much light may be thrown on the founders and their 
work in various parishes. In the study of bell-stamps, moreover, 
it always has to be borne in mind that the practice of handing 
down stamps from one founder to another (of which instances 
are given in Chap. XIII.) makes it necessary to use this evidence 
with considerable caution. 

Bell-hunting is quite an interesting form of sport ; and as 
may be seen from the incompleteness of our Bibliography of the 
counties whose bells have been recorded, there is plenty of work 
still left to do. The campanologist may take Mr Cocks' Church 
Bells of Buckinghamshire as a model record. Nevertheless the 
date and locality of the stamps and the lettering of so many 
founders have been determined, that the work of the campan- 
ologist is greatly lightened. Every record of the bells of a new 
county facilitates the preparation of a record of the next county. 

Plaster casts should be taken of all important stamps, stops, 
lettering, &c, and for the purpose plasta, a kind of modelling 
clay, to be obtained at any shop for artists' materials, is the 
best medium to employ for taking the preliminary squeezes. It 
has the advantage of always being ready for use, so long as it 
is not allowed to get too dry, and can always be used again 
after the casts have been made from it. Care must be taken 
in applying the plasta to the bell, and in preserving the squeeze 
in such a way that it does not become distorted or defaced 
before the cast is made. Of the inscriptions themselves com- 
plete rubbings should always be taken, shewing the respective 
position on the bell of the various words and stamps. For 
this purpose the best materials are a piece of black "uppers"' 
leather, which any cobbler can supply, and long strips of 

1 See Bibliography. 


lining-paper, to be obtained from any plumber. If the bell is 
dirty, the inscription-band should be cleaned with a hard brush 
before the impression or rubbing is taken. 

The pursuit, however, is not without its dangers. Many a 
belfry is still in a filthy and dangerous condition. The state of 
things pointed out by the Rev. W. C. Lukis in 1S57 1 is not a 
whit worse than what Mr Cocks found in several parishes in 
Buckinghamshire forty years later. In his book published in 
1 897 he says :— 

"The rungs of the ladder worn out, the very baulks rotten, the steps of 
the newel staircase so abraded by the tread of centuries as to be almost 
non-existent, perilous in the extreme to life and limb ; the belfry resembling 
nothing but a guano-island on the coast of Peru ; frequently containing cart- 
loads of sticks, straws, and other rubbish brought in by birds tor their 
nests. The air-fauna comprises jackdaws, starlings, sparrows ; sometimes 
a pair of barn owls, occasionally domestic pigeons. The invertebrates will 
demonstrate their presence the ensuing night by keeping the explorer awake ; 
while everything — bells, stocks, frame, floor — will be white with the deposit 
of guano." 

And all for want of expenditure of a few shillings on wire 
netting over the belfry windows ! 

But these are not the only troubles which the bell-hunter has 
to encounter. In many a tower there is no stone staircase, and 
the bells have to be reached by a succession of crazy ladders, 
planted, it may be, on equally crazy floors. Or again there is 
no ladder at all, and one has to be brought from a long distance 
and reared with difficulty, perhaps through a narrow doorway or 
among beams which hinder it from reaching the trap-door. 
When there is no tower, but only a turret, the difficulties are 
greatly increased, especially if the only means of access are from 
outside. Endless instances might be cited, where the bells seem 
to have been deliberately hung in order to make access to them 
impossible. And yet every bell, even a solitary tinkler in a 
remote village, must sometimes require attention. 

To take only one county as illustrative of the above remarks, 
it may be worth noting that in Shropshire there are no less than 
forty open bell-cots which can only be reached by a succession 
of ladders reared outside; there are about sixty towers or turrets, 
where lengthy ladders are required inside, and even then the 
bells are only reached with difficulty ; and in three or four 
instances they are so hung as to be unapproachable either from 
the interior or the exterior. Perhaps the worst instance known 
to the writer is at Harewood in Herefordshire, where the tower 
is circular and very lofty, but of no great diameter ; the inside is 

1 An Account of Church /•' p. 2 ff. 


supplied with a series of staples up the wall which terminate 
some feet below the bells, and some feet above the ground ; 
and access from outside is equally impossible. Here the circum- 
stances are aggravated by the knowledge that one of the bells 
is ancient and interesting! Nor is it only the rural districts 
which present these pleasing problems ; town churches also 
contribute their quota, as at St. Michael, Worcester, where the 
bell (one of unique interest) hangs in a small aperture under 
the western gable. That architectural freak, St. John's, West- 
minster, presents several problems ; x firstly to ascertain in which 
of the four towers the bell is hung ; secondly, how to reach that 
tower from below ; thirdly, how to surmount the exceedingly 
steep and awkward ladders up the outside of the tower when 
reached ! At St. George-the Martyr, Bloomsbury, the bell is 
only reached by crawling along inside the roof! 

Volumes might be written on the experiences of bell-hunters 
in this way ; for instance, an amusing account is given by the 
Rev. H. T. Tilley' 2 of his adventures in the tower of Stoke near 
Coventry, where matters have since been improved, but there is 
still a vertical ladder of appalling height to be negotiated. In 
Buckinghamshire, too, Mr A. H. Cocks met with many such 
experiences, pleasant and unpleasant, of which the most 
humorous was his being suspected by the sexton of planning to 
blow up the church with dynamite ! 3 

It has already been hinted that inaccessibility of bells leads 
to their neglect ; and this is one of the many reasons why they 
are apt to crack and need replacement, which often means a 
heavy call on parochial and individual purses. And even if the 
bells do not actually require to be replaced, there must from time 
to time be the necessity of replacing frames and hangings and 
even rebuilding belfries, which a little regular attention and a 
small annual outlay would have obviated. As Mr Cocks says, 4 
for a bell to crack is a thing which rarely happens except from 
sheer neglect. The responsibility, as he pertinently remarks, lies 
in the first place with the incumbent, who too often knows little 
about his bells and cares less. But to them and to all who are 
concerned with the care of church bells we strongly recommend 
a careful perusal of Mr Cocks' valuable remarks on this subject. 

In view of the painful rapidity with which ancient bells are 
disappearing it is of the utmost importance to all those who 
value records of the past and the artistic productions of our fore- 

1 Great Packington, Warwickshire, is a similar case. 

2 Trans. Birin. and Midi. Inst., 1892, p. 21. 

3 Records of Bucks., vii. p. 237. 

4 Bucks., p. xxi. 


fathers, that careful record should be kept of the contents of our 
church towers. It is much to be desired that a complete 
investigation should be made of all our English bells and their 
inscriptions, and if possible, of the rest of the United Kingdom. 
The general tendency of the present day to substitute new lamps 
for old makes itself more painfully felt in regard to church bells 
than perhaps any other branch of ecclesiology, and it is difficult 
to keep pace with the continual destruction of these " ancient 
monuments,'' often quite uncalled for and unnecessary. Yet 
those who are responsible for the destruction must have their 
meed of justice, for the growing practice of reproducing old 
inscriptions, or at least of keeping some record of the previous 
bells, betokens an awakened sense of their historical interest, for 
which all honour is due. In this respect even the seventecnth- 
and eighteenth-century bell-founders sometimes set a good 
example, as we have seen in Chap. XV. (p. 330). Yet in one case. 
within the writer's knowledge the good work thus done by a 
founder of 1705 (at Clungunford, Shropshire) has since been 
obliterated in a recent recasting. 

But excellent as the practice is of reproducing the old 
inscriptions, it is better still if the} - can be copied in exact 
facsimile, of course with a notification of the date of recasting. 
An admirable example of this may be seen in the great tenor 
at Brailes, Warwickshire. Or again, the band can be cut out 
and the inscription preserved intact, as has been done with an 
interesting bell at Chester-le-Street, Durham. The late Canon 
Ellacombe preserved several of these inscription-bands, which 
after his death were acquired by Messrs Warner ; and others are 
in the possession of the Taylors of Loughborough. Best of all, 
though perhaps a counsel of perfection, is the preservation of 
the old bell in its entirety, as has been done at Wingrave, 
Bucks. ; Batcombe, Dorset ; Swyncombe, Oxfordshire ; Barrow 
Gurney, Somerset ; Beverley Minster ; and elsewhere. In any 
case, where a bell is of special interest, one of the two latter 
alternatives should be adopted. 

That much has been done in time past towards the end of 
recording bell-inscriptions, we owe to the energy and industry 
of Ellacombe, Raven, North, Stahlschmidt, and others now 
departed. These writers have produced laborious and sumptu- 
ous volumes in which the inscriptions on all the church bells in 
various counties have been carefully copied and reproduced, 
generally with the accompaniment of well-executed representa- 
tions of lettering, foundry-stamps, and other ornaments. Dr 
A. D. Tyssen, who is still with us, issued his admirable little 
Sussex volume, the first of the series, in 1864, and this veteran 


campanologist is to be congratulated on the welcome announce- 
ment that he hopes to celebrate its jubilee by a second edition 
in 1914. But though nearly fifty years have since elapsed, 
almost half of England still remains, if not unexplored, yet un- 

The fact is that the work is one which calls for many quali- 
fications — not only for leisure and means, but also for enthusiasm, 
patience, accuracy, and last but by no means least, a certain 
capacity for gymnastics. Co-operation is therefore eminently 
needed, and, where possible, assistance from archaeological 
societies or other official bodies, partly in order to prevent 
overlapping, partly to lighten the task of individuals. In this 
way, too, another difficulty might be overcome — that of actual 
publication. Books of this kind, when properly printed and 
illustrated, are costly to produce, and necessarily appeal to a 
limited public ; and the only hope lies in individual generosity 
or public subsidy. It is therefore to be hoped that other local 
societies will follow the public-spirited example so nobly set by 
those of Dorset and Shropshire, and not only organise investiga- 
tion, but afford facilities for publication. 



(Alphabetically arratiged) 

General reference should be made to Chapters VIII. -XI. 

[A * denotes that the name only exists in records \ 




Authority, or Place where Found. 

Abbot & Co. 



Lee, Haydon Bridge, &c. , 

Ainsworth, G. - 



Tilstock, Shropshire. 

Aleyn, John 


r 33Q- 

1350 (?) 

Southease, Sussex. 

Andrew, Thomas 

Bury St. 


Raven, Suffolk, p. 102. 

*Annington, Richard 



/ 'ict. County Hist., Yorks., 
ii. 451. 

*Aphowell, Christopher 


1 557 


Appowell, George - 



Gocks, Bucks., p. 170. 




Ibid., p. 174. 

Arnold, Edward 

St. Neot's. 


Owen, Hunts., p. 44. 




Ashton, Luke - 



Cumb. and West;//. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., ix., p. 24;. 





"Atkvns, Richard 


] 529 

Ellacombe, Clones., Sup- 
plenum, p. 1 [8. 

Atton, Bartholomew 



( 'neks. Bucks., [>. 194. 

Robert - 

1 >o. 


[bid., p. 200. 

William - 


i()i 1 

Ibid., p. 203. 

*Aughton, Henry de - 



1'. ('.//.. Yot is., ii. 450. 

Austen, Robert 

Sherb a ae. 


Raven, Dm • t, p. 99. 




Bristol and (Hone. Arch. 
Soc. Brans., xxxiv. p. 







Authority, or Place where Found. 




Salop Arch. Soc. Traits. , 


4th Ser., i. p. 63. 

R. B. - 



See p. 221. 

Badman, Joseph (?) - 



Berrow, Somerset. 

Bagley, Henry, I. 



Tilley and Walters, Warw. , 


p. 64 ff. ; see p. 240. 

Henry, II. 






1687- 1 703 


Henry, III. - 





















Matthew, I. - 






1687- 1 690 

Arch. Journ., lxiii. p. 192. 

Matthew, II. - 


1 740- 1 782 

Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 65. 

Matthew, III. - 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 128. 








Cocks, Bucks., p. 214. 

William - 



Warwick, p. 64. 

Baker, Godwin 



Ibid., p. 56. 

* Simon 

Do. (?) 



Barber, John - 


ob. 1403 

Wills. Arch. Mag., xxxv. 
P- 351 ff- 

Barker, William 


1 530- 1 538 

L' Estrange, Norf., p. 23. 

Barrett, Alfred 



Hastings, St. Mary Magd., 



Bartlet, Thomas 



Essex, p. 74- 

Antony - 



Ibid., p. 76. 




Ibid., p. 77. 

Bartlett, Thomas 



Proc. Soc. Ant. Newc, iv. 
p. 124. 

■ Thomas - 



Farlington, Hants. 

Bar well, James 



Baxter, Richard 



L'Estrange, Norf., p. 27. 

Bayley & Street 



Beascam, John 

(Cornwall. ) 


Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 90. 

*Bee, Gilbert 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

"Bellingham, Francis 



Doncaster and Ludlow 

"Belmaker, Robert - 

Durham (?). 


Surtees Soc, Vol. 100, p. 

*Belyetere or Bellyeterejohn 



Bristol and Gloitc. Arch. 
Soc. Traits., xviii. p. 

* Walter - 



Braikenridge and Bickley, 
Bristol Deeds, p. 41. 

* John 


1 300- 1 325 

Ibid., pp. 48, 72, 104. 

William - 


<-• 1325 

Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 12. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

*Belyetereor Bellyetere, Hug 

h ( iloiii :i >ti i . 

c. 1270 

Gloitc. Corp. Records, pp. 
2 5'> 299- 

* Christiana, la - 


1 303 -1 304 


* Stephen - 


I 328-1348 

TilleyandWalters, Warw. , 

Thomas - 



P' '3- 
L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 22. 

Edmund - 




* ■ Edmund - 




* Thomas - 



Ibid., p. 2 \. 

* William - 



V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 368. 



1 344- 1 345 

Salop Arch. Trans., 4th 
Ser., i. p. 33. 

* Simon 


1 226- 1 266 

Wanoick, p. 7 (probably 

not a founder). 

* Agnes 



Document in Record Office. 

* Simon 


1 274- 1 306 

// arwick, p. 7. 

* Henry 


c. 1280 

Document in Rec< > id Office. 

* Richard - 



Warwick, p. 7. 

* John - - - 



Document in Reo ml Office. 

* Richard - 



Warwick, p. 10. 

Benetlye, Richard - 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 194. 

Bennett, John - 

1 lelstone. 

1 759- 1 765 

Dunkin, Corn-wall, p. 91. 

*Bery, John 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Bett, Thomas - 



Warwick, p. 16. 

Bilbie, Abraham 




See p. 227. 

Edward - 








Thomas, I. 


1 7 19- 1 760 


Thomas, II. - 


1 754- 1 790 


William - 




Thomas - 




Bird, John 



Deedesand Wallers. Essex, 
p. 27. 

V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

*Blakey, Richard 


1 501 

Blews, William 



Warwick, p. 85. 

Blowere, Walter 


14th cent. 

Spixworth, Norfolk. 

Bohm, H. - - - 



Trefilys, Carnarvon. 

Bond, Anthony 

(Hants. ?) 


Raven, Dorset, p. 152. 

H., & Co. 

Burford, Oxon. 

Present day 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 263. 

Boney, Caleb - 



Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 91. 

*Bonin, Giles 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Boulter, Nathanael - 



( Ii ickSj Bucks., p. 206. 




Salisbury St. Edmund : 
Tickenham, Sorn. 

*Bous, John 



Yorks. Arch. Journ., xviii. 
p. 88. 

Bowell, II., & Sons 



1 , p. 143. 

Bowen - 


1846- 1 S49 

St. George, Brentford, 
Middx. ' 

Bowler, Augustine - 

Hull (?). 

1626- 164S 

North, Lines., p. 139; 
I'.C.IL, Yorks., ii. 

Richard - 


1 ^7-1604 

1 >eedesand W altei s, Essex, 

p. 86. 







Authority, or Place where Found. 

Box, W. - 



Imber, Wilts. 

Bracker, Austen 

Lynn (?). 

^- i55 OI 5 6 ° 

Essex, p. 82. 

Brasyer, Richard, I. 


1 424- 1 482 

L'Estrange, Noif., p. 28. 

Richard, II. - 



Ibid., p. 29. 

* Adam le - 

Bury St. 


Essex, p. 50. 

* John 




* Stephen - 




Brend, John 


1 564- 1 582 

L'Estrange, Noif., p. 34. 

■ William and Alice - 



Ibid., p. 35. 




Ibid., p. 37. 




Ibid., p. 39. 

Ralph and Thomas - 



Ibid., p. 39. 

Briant, John 



Stahlschmidt, Herts. , p. 55. 

Brooke, William 



Tilley and Walters, Warw., 
P- 75- 

Bullisdon, Thomas - 


c. 1 5 10 

See p. 190. 

Burford, William 



See p. 186. 





Burgess & Hayton - 


l8 3°-33 

Cumb. and Westm. Areh. 
Soc. Trans., ix. p. 262. 

& Insall - 



Ibid., p. 256. 

Burrough, James 



Bushell, Michael 


1 701 -1 707 

Warwick, p. 75. 

Buxton, Thomas 



Wharram-le-Street, Yorks. 

Byrdan, Thomas 



Ellacombe, Devon, p. 51. 




W T oodbury, Devon. 

L. C. - 



Bitton, Gloucs. ; Clevedon, 

R. C. - - 


c. 1370 

North, lines., p. no. 

*Calvert, Christopher 

York. 'l 
Do. 1 
Do. J 

* William - 


V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

* Thomas - 

Carr, Charles - 



Warwick, p. 85. 

Carter, John - 



Ch. Ch., Poplar, London. 

Carter, Joseph - 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 81. 

Do. ... 


1 606- 1 609 

Carter, William 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
P- 73- 




Catlin, Robert - 

Londi >n. 

I738-I75 1 

Essex, p. 130. 

Cawood & Son 



Cumberworth and Denton, 

*Chamberlayne, William - 



Surrey Bells, p. 71. 

Chandler, Richard, I. 

Parslow, Bucks. 


Cocks, Bucks., p. 220. 

Anthony - 



Ibid., p. 222. 

Richard, II. - 



Ibid., p. 224. 

- Richard, III. - 



Ibid. , p. 227. 

George - 



Ibid., p. 230. 

Thomas - 



Ibid., p. 235. 

Chapman, William - 


1 769- 1 784 

(and see Pack). Seep. 217. 





l). it.-. 

Authority, 01 Pla 1 h here Found. 

Cheese, Thomas 

Bury St. 

1603- 1632 

Raven, Suffolk, p. 109. 

Cherk, John - 



Ellacombe, Clones., p. 193. 

Church, Reignold 


1470- 1498 

Deedes and Walters, Essex, 
p. 50. 

Thomas - 


1498- 1 527 

Ibid., p. 51. 

Clark, William 


1 701 -1 707 

TilleyandWalters, Warw., 

P- 75- 



171 1 

\\ hatcote, \\ arw. 

Clarke, George (?) - 

( lambridge (?'). 


Duxford, Camb. 


Datchwi mil. 


Stahlschmidt, Herts. , p. ^^. 




Essex, p. 84. 

( 'lav, Thomas - 



North, /.ens., p. 72. 

Clibury, John - 


c. 1 590- 1 600 

Shropsh. Arch. Trans., 4th 


Ser., i. p. 49 ii. 

William - 




Thomas, I. 




Thomas, II. 








Clifton, John - 


1632- 1640 

1 >eedes and Walters, Essex, 


p. 75- 

Cocke v, William 


1693- 1 75 1 

Edward - 


1 823 -1 840 



1666- 1 70 1 

Cole, John 


1 573- 1 592 

Tyssen, Sussex, p. 21. 

Colsale, John de 

Nottingham (?). 

c. 1410 

TilleyandWalters, II 'arw., 

p. 18. 
V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 452. 

Conyers, John - 



Cookson & Co. 



Egglestone, Durham. 

Copgrave, John de - 


14th cent. 

Scawton, Yorks. (See Bells 
of the Church, p. 434.) 

* William - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 449. 

Cor, William - 



See p. 225. 

Robert - 


1 696- 1 742 








1 728- 1 750 


*Corvehill, Sir William 

Much Wenlock. 

ob. 1546 

Salop Arch. Trans.. 4th 
Ser., i. p. 45. 

*Cosyn, William (?) - 


1 349- 1 369 

Surrey Bells, p. 2S. 

Cox & Sons 



Warden, Northumberland. 

*Cresswell, Richard - 



Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 32. 

Crowch, Robert 



See p. 189. 

Cuerdon, William - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 452. 

Culverden, William - 


1506- 1 522 

See p. 191. 

Dalton, George 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 452. 

G. & R. 



Tadcaster and Knaresbro", 

Dand, Henry - 

Ni ittingham. 

c. 1590 

North, lines., p. 124. 

Danton, John - 


1 624- 1 640 

Raven, Dorset, p. 150. 

Danyell, John - 


1 450-14!) 1 

■ See p. [89. 

Darbie, John - 



Raven, Suffolk, p. 122. 

.Michael - 



See pp. 170. z \-;. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Davies, D. & T. 

(South Wales. ) 


Oystermouth, Glamorgan. 

Davis, George - 


1 782- 1 799 


E. - 


1 783- 1 784 


Dawe, William 



See p. 188. 

Davvkes, Richard 


1 606- 1 633 

Tilley and Walters, JVarw., 
p. 56. 

*Dawson, William 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

Deacon, Thomas 

(Yorks., E.R.) 

14th cent. 

Cat wick, Yorks. 

Derby, (?)--- 


14th cent. 

L'Estrange, Norf., p. 55. 

Dicker, Thomas 

. ( ? ) 


Sherfield, Hants. 

Dier, John 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 

p. S3. 
Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 35. 

Dingey, Francis 



Dobson, William 


1 806- 1 833 

L'Estrange, Norf., p. 48. 

*Doddes, Robert 



Essex, p. 66. 

*Doe, Gilbert - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

Doo, Thomas - 



Botesdale, Suffolk ; 
L'Estrange, Norf, p. 184. 

Draper, Thomas 

Bury and 

1 5 74- 1 595 

Nojfolk, p. 43 ; Suffolk, p. 





1 600- 1 644 

Norfolk, p. 45 ; Suffolk, p. 

1 11. 
Raven, Suffolk, p. 109. 

Driver, John - 

Bury St. 



Dudley, William 


14th cent. 

Well, Lines. 

Earley, John - 



Hunton, Hants. 

Eayre, Thomas 



North, Northanls, p. 47. 

Thomas - 





St. Neot's. 

1735 I77i 

Owen, Hunts., p. 42. 

Edbury, James 

Bury St. 

1603- 1623 

Raven, Suffolk, p. 109. 

Edmonds, Islip 


1 764- 1 765 

North, Beds., p. 83. 

Edmonton, Geoffrey of - 


<■'■ x 303 

See p. 185. 

Eldridge, Thomas - 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 242. 

Richard - 

and Horsham. 


Ibid.; Surrey Bells, p. 109. 

■ Bryan, I. 



Op. cit., pp. 244, 109. 

Bryan, II. 

Chertsey and 

1 640- 1 66 1 

Op. cit. ; and Tilley and 


Walters, JVarw., p. 58. 

William, I. - 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 245 ; and 
Surrey, p. m. 

Thomas, II. - 




William, II. - 




Elery, William 


I73 2 -I757 

Winterbourne Kingston, 



*Elys, Roger 



Churchwardens' Accts. of 
Bramley, Hants (un- 

Emerton, William - 

Wootton, Beds. 

1 768- 1 789 

North, Beds., p. 38. 

*Eshby, John - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Evans, Evan - 


1 690- 1 729 

See p. 228. 

William - 








Date. Authority, or l'lace where Fou 

Farmer, Henry 


1602-1622 Bristol and Glouc. Arch. 
Soc. '/fans., xxxiv. \>. 

Finch, John 


1 628- I 664 

Salop Arch. Trans., 4th 
Ser., i. p. 72. 

Florey, Richard 



Lukis, Ch. Bells, p. 9. 

Foster, Francis 



*Fourness, Thomas - 



Watson, Hist, of Halifax, 
P- 359- 

R. G. - 

Lincoln (?). 


Gardiner, Thomas - 

Sudbury. &c. 

1 709- 1 760 

Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 124. 

Gefferies, Thomas - 



See p. 199. 

{See also Jefferies) 

*Gerveaux, John 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Gillett & Co. - 

Croyd< in . 


( riles, Geoffrey 

< ' tventry (?). 


Tilley and Walters, Warm., 

p. 47. 

Edmund - 



Tyssen, Sussex, p. 22. 

Thomas - 


I 602- 1 628 

Ibid., p. 23. 

Gilpin, Samuel 


1679- 1 705 

L' Estrange. Norf., p. 39. 

*Glazier, William 


I43 6 

Wadley, Bristol Wills, p. 

Bristol and Glouc. Arch. 

Gloucester, Sandre of 


c. 1320 

Soc. Trans., xxxiv. p. 

1 1 1. 

John of - 


c 1 340- 1 350 Ibid. 

Goldsmith, John 

Redgrave, Norf. 

1 708- 1 7 14 

L'Estrange, Norf., p. 69. 

Gooding, John 



Ibid., p. 23. 



1 7 14- 1 748 

Ellacombe, Devon, p. 58. 

*Goroway, Vincent - 


1 564- 1 569 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 75. 

*Gosselin, John 


ob. 1453 

See p. 198. 

Gotley, J. - - - 



Creech and Cheddon Fitz- 
paine, Som. 

Graye, Miles, I. 


1 600- 1 649 

Deedesand Walters. Essex, 
p. 89 ff. 

Miles, II. 




■ Miles, III. 


1648- 1686 

/i'iil. , p. 96. 




Owen, Hunts., p. 35. 


1 raddenham, 



1683 (?) 

Greene, Abraham 

Bury St. 


Raven. Suffolk, p. 120. 



ob. 154' 

Arch, foiun.. lxiii. p. [89. 

lohn, I. - 



Ibid., p. 190. 

- John, II. 


1 609- 1 633 

Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 55. 

John, III. 



Lugwardine, I lereford. 


(Itinerant. ) 

[571 [575 

1 . p. 83. 

Gurney, Andrew 


1 621-1636 

Raven. Suffolk, p. III. 

Robert - 

bury St. 


Ibid. , p. 1 3 1 . 

Andrew - 



I'.C.H.. Yorks., ii. 452. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Iladham, John de - 



Essex, p. 6. 

Hadley, Isaac - 


1 701 -1 703 

Shropsh. Arch. Soc. Trans., 
4th Ser. , i. p. 72. 




Stahlschmidt, A'ent,p. 103. 

Hall, Edward - 


1 726- 1 754 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 235. 

William - 



Ibid., p. 237. 

Halton, J. M. - 



Barlboroughand Longford, 

1725 (?) 


Hambling, W. B. 



Ellacombe, Devon, p. 61. 

Hancox, Thomas, I. 



Tilley and Wallers, Warw. , 
p. 50 ff. 

Thomas, II. 




Harbert, William 



Essex, p. 94. 

Harding, John 



Ibid., p. 65. 

Hardy, John - 

Bury St. 


Ibid. , p. 79 ; Suffolk, p. 



Harrison, James 


1 763- 1 766 

North, Lines., p. 62. 



Humber and 


1 770- 1 780 


^William - 



Ibid., p. 63. 





Harrys, Thomas 


I 478- I 480 

Essex, p. 41. 

Harvey, J., & Co. - 


1 786- 1832 

Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 91. 

Hatch, Thomas 

Ulcombe, Kent. 


Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. J^. 

- — — Joseph 



Ibid., p. 75. 

William - 


1 640- 1 664 

Ibid., p. 80. 

Hatherell, Philip - 



All Hallows the Great, 

Haulsey, William 

St. Ives, Hunts. 


Owen, Hunts., p. 25. 

Hawkes, Peter 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 85. 

Hazelwood, William 


1 494- 1 508 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 58. 



c. 1510 

Ibid., p. 61. 

Hazfelde, Simon de 

London (?). 


Sutterton, Lines. ; Stan- 
wick, Northants. 

Heathcote, William ■ 



Reliquary, xvi. p. 141 ff. 

Ralph, I. 


I 5 IO - I 5 2 5 


George - 




Ralph, II. 




Godfrey - 


1 588- 1643 


Ralph - 


1643- -(?) 


Hedderley, Daniel - 

Bawtry and 


North, Lines., p. 129. 




V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 370. 

Thomas, I. 




Thomas, II. - 


1 778- 1 785 


George - 


1 785- 1 793 


Hemins, Edward 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 256. 

Hendley, Robert 



See p. 200. 

*Henshaw, William - 


1 500- 1 520 

Bristol and Glouc. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., xxxiv. p. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Higden, John - 



Vict. Hist., Berks., ii. p. 

Hille, Richard 


I423- I44O 

See p. 186. 

Joanna - 




Hilton. Thomas 

Wath, Yorks. 


V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 452. 

Hodson, John - 


1653- 1693 

Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 97. 


London and St. 
Mary Cray. 





I 693- I 696 

Proc. Soc. Antiqs. Nexvc, 


iv. p. 123. 

Holdfeld, Richard - 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
]). 104. 

*Hooton, William de 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 449. 

* William de 


1409- 1445 

Ibid., p. 450. 

* John de - 


1455- U73 


*Hose, John 



Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 13. 

Houlden, W. & T. - 



Wortley, Yorks. 

Hughes, A. - 



See Mears and Stainbank. 

Hughes, Ellis - 


1685- 1 700 

Salop Arch. Trans., 4th 
Ser., i. p. 67. 

Hull, William - 



(With the Hodsons.) 


S. Mailing, 


Tyssen, Sussex, p. 27. 

■ John - _ - 


1683- 1687 

Ibid., p. 29. 

Huntbatch, William 


I 687 -I 694 

Ass. Arch. Soc. Hep., xxv. 
P- 585- . 

Hutton, Paul - 



Trans. Hist. Soc. lane, and 
Chesh., xlii. (1890) p. 
166; Vict. Hist., Notts., 
ii. p. 370. 

*Innocent, Thomas - 


1458- 1469 

lVa>~wick, p. 15. 

Janaway, Thomas - 


I 762- 1 788 

Faulkner, Hist, of Chelsea, 

i. p. 74 ; ii. p. So. 

Jefiferies, H. - 


c- I540-I55 

See p. 199. 

& Price - 



Jordan, Henry 


1442- 1470 

Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells. 
p. 56. 

*Karoun, Thomas 



Raven, Dorset, p. 3. 

Kebyll, — 


c. 1460- 1480 

See p. 188. 

Keene, James - 



( locks, Bucks., p. 150. 






c. 1630 

Bledington and Stanton, 
( iloucs. 




Proc. Soc. Ant. Ntwc, iv. 
p. 249. 

Richard - 

W Ntock. 

I 654- I 698 

( locks, Bucks., p. 107. 


Royston, Herts. 

1 699- 1 703 

I >eedesand Wallers, E>sc.\ , 
p. 1 1 8. 

*Kempe, Thomas 


ob. 1574 

Ibid., p. 66. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Kerner, Richard 



Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 47. 

*King, William 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Kingston, John 



Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 5. 



1 790- 1 829 

Thomas - 


1 808- 1 832 

Edward - 



Kipling, Joshua 



Tyssen, Sussex, p. 44. 

*Kirkby, Roger de (?) 



Surrey Bells, p. 25. 

Kirkham, John de - 


'• 1 37 1 

Vict. Hist., Yorks., ii. p. 

Knight, William, I. 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 118. 

William, II. - 



Do., p. 119. 

- Henry, I. 



Do., p. 123. 

Ellis, I. - 



Do., p. 126. 

Francis - 



Do., p. 12S. 

- Henry, II. 



Do., p. 129. 

Henry, III. 



Do., p. 134. 

Ellis,' II. 



Do., p. 130. 

Thomas - 



Do., p. 132. 

Samuel - 



Do., p. 135. 



1 709- 1 739 

William - 


1 704- 1 756 

See p. 227. 

Thomas - 




Lambart, William - 


1 638- 1 642 

Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. m. 

Land, William 

Bury St. 


Raven, Suffolk, p. 9S. 

William, II. - 

London, &c. 


Essex, p. 80. 

Landen, Roger 


c. 1448 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 53. 

Langhorne, John 


1 379- 1406 

Essex, p. 22. 

Langshaw, J. & W. - 



Cumb. and Westm. Arch. 
Sec. Trans., viii. p. 142. 

Langton, Thomas (?) 



Chewton Mendip, Somer- 
V.C.H., Nolls., ii. p. 368. 

* William - 



Lawrence, Thomas - 



Essex, p. 44 ; and see p. 
191 above. 




Lawson, A. S. 


1 883- 1 904 

See Mears and Stainbank. 

Lee, George 



Vict. Hist., Notts., ii. p. 
370 ; Cheshire Courant, 
15 Apr., 6 May 1908. 

- John - 


1 759- 1 766 

Lees & Wright 



Cumb. and Westm. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., viii. p. 142. 

Lenne, see Lynn. 

Lester, Thomas 


1 738- 1 769 

See p. 217. 

Lewis, T. C. - 


Present day 

*Lichfield, Michael de 

Lichfield (?). 

c. 1280 

Hewitt, Handbk. of Lich- 

field Calh., p. 58. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Llewellins & James - 



Vict. Hist., Gloucs., ii. p. 

Londes, John - 



Fairford, Gloucs. 

* Lonsdale Thomas 


I43 2 

V.C.LI., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Lott, John 



Daniell, Warminster, p. 

*Loveday, Thomas - 

( rloucester. 


r 59- 
Bazeley, Records of Glouc. 
Cat/i., i. pp. 129, 3C0. 

*Lowesse, John 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

* Thomas - 




Ludlam, Joseph 


1 733- 1 76o 

North, Lines., p. 142. 

Lulham, John - 



1 649- 1 65 1 

Tyssen, Sussex, p. 25. 

Lynn, Thomas de 



L'Estrange, Norf., p. 23. 

■ John de - 




Edmund de 




* Lyons, Thomas 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

Mallows, Joseph 


1 756- 1 760 

L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 47. 

* Marshall, John 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 




Whal ton, Northumberland. 

Martin, John - 


1 644- 1 693 

Assoc. Archil. Soc. Rep., 
xxv. p. 584. 

Mason, William 


1 736- 1 747 

Hesket-in- Forest, Cumber- 
land ; Corsenside, North- 

Mears, William 



See p. 217. 

Thomas, I. 




Thomas, II. - 


1 806- 1843 




1835- 1 84 1 


Charles - 


1 844- 1 855 

See p. 218. 

George - 


1 844- 1 865 


& Stainbank 




Mellour, Richard 


1488- 1 508 

V.CH.., Notts., ii. p. 368. 

Robert - 


1 508- 1 525 


*Melton, Thomas de - 


1 368- 1 392 

Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 15. 

Merstoun, Robert 




North, Lines., p. 69. 

Metcalfe, Francis 



WC.H.. Yorks., ii. 451. 

* Millers, William 



Warwick, p. 15. 

•Mills, John, & Sons 



Ellingham, Northumber- 

* Mitchell, Henry 



Lynam, Croxden Abbey. 



1487- 1493 

p. VI. 
( 'neks, Bucks., p. 56. 

Moore, Holmes, & Mac- 





Mot, Robert 



Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 66. 

Naylor, Vickers, Ov Co. 


1857- 1 S74 

Neale, Edward 

Burford, < >xon. 


Cocks, Bucks., p. 262. 







Authority, or Place where Found. 

*Newcombe, Thomas, T. - 


1 506- 1 520 

Warwick, p. 16. 

- Robert - 


1 520- 1 56 1 


Thomas, II. - 



Ibid., p. 29. 

- Edward - 



Ibid., p. 32. 

Robert - 


1 580- 1 598 

Ibid., p. 30. 

Robert - - "j 

Thomas - - J- 



Ibid., p. 38. 

William - - j 

Edward - 


1 599- 1 622 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 155. 

Newman, Charles - 

Norwich, &c. 

1 684- 1 709 

Raven, Suffolk, p. 135. 

Thomas - 

Cambridge and 


1 70I -I 744 

L'Estrange, Norf., p. 40. 

Newton, Samuel 



Essex, p. 127. 

Newton & Beanes 



Jeffreston, Pembroke. 



14th cent. 

Essex, p. 8. 

Nicholson, Richard - 



Bottisham, Cambs. 

Nicholson & Co. 



Crosby-on-Eden, Cumbd. 

*Noble, William 



Warwick, p. 15. 

Noone, William 



V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 370. 

Norris, Toby, I. 



North, lines., p. 51. 

Thomas - 



Ibid., p. 53. 

Toby, II. 


1 664- 1 698 

Ibid., p. 56. 

Norton, Robert 



Ellacombe, Devon, p. 46. 

— — ■ Stephen - 

Maidstone (?). 

1 363- 1 38 1 

Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 16. 

Norwich, William de 



L'Estrange, Norf., p. 25. 

Oatey, John 



Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 91. 

*Oglebv, Robert 


1 700- 1 768 

V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 452. 

Oldfield, William - 



Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 53. 

William - 



V. C. H. , Yorks. , ii. 45 1 . 

- Rowland 






1 605 -1 640 

Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 107. 

Richard - 


1 606- 1 640 

Salop Arch. Traits., 4th 
Ser. , i. p. 68. 

Henry, I. 



V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 369. 

Thomas - 



Reliquaiy, xiii. p. 112. 

Henry, II. 


1 582- 1 620 

V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 369. 

George, I. 



Ibid., p. 370. 

George, II. - 


1 690- 1 74 1 


Oliver, C. & J. 



St. Clement Danes, Lon- 



Osborn, Thomas 

St Neot's. 

1 779- 1 790 





1 790- 1 806 

L'Estrange, Norf., p. 48. 

C. S. 

1 853- 1 854 

Thundridge, Herts. 

*Owen, John 



Essex, p. 65. 

Pack, Thomas - 



See p. 217. 

Packer, John - 


1692- 1 705 

Salop Arch. Trans., 4th 
Ser., i. p. 72. 





I >atr. 

Authority, or Place where Pound. 

Palmer. John, L 



Bristol and Glonc. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., xxxiv. p. 

John, IF 



Ibid., p. I 18. 

- John 



Stahlschmidt, Kent. p. 85. 

Thomas - 




*■ Thomas - 



Yorks. Arch. Journ., xvii. 
P- 13- 

Pannell, W. ,V C. ■ 


and Exeter. 

1 820- 1 855 

Pllacombe, Devon, p. 60. 

Patrick, Robert 



Essex, p. 131. 

Peele, John - - * - 


1 705- 1 708 

Ibid., p. 127. 

Peever, Aaron - 



Climb, and West in. Arch. 


Soc. Trans., vii. p. 221 ff. 

Penn, Henry - 



Owen, Hunts., p. 40. 

Pennington, Thomas, F - 



1642 (P) 1 

Ellacombe, Devon, p. 56. 

Thomas, IF - 



- John, I. - 


Devon, p. 56. 

1640 (?) 

John, IF 



1690 (?) 

■ John, III. 




John, IV. 

Stoke Clims- 


See Dunkin, Cornwall, p. 

land, Cornw. 


Christopher, I. 

Do. (?) 

1680- 1 733 

Ibid., p. 89. 

Christopher, IF 



Christopher, III. 


1 782- 1 799 

F. - 



Cormuall, p. 89. 

■ Bernard - 




William, I. - 

Stoke Clims- 



William, IF - 

Lezant (?). 




Stoke Clims- 
land and 

1 756- 1 768 


& Co. - 

Do. (?) 



Phelps, Richard 


1700- 1 738 

V.C.H., Middlesex, ii. p. 

Li >ndon. 


Phillips, Richard 



Tenby and County News, 
20th Feb. 1907. 

* Pinchbeck, Leonard 



North, Lines., p. 50. 

* Pinker, Henry 



See p. 196. 

Pike, Thomas - 


1 7 76- 1 806 

Pleasant, Henry 



Essex, p. 121. 

*Poole, John & Cemge 




Ellacombe, I\ von, p. 177. 

Potter, John 



V.C.H., Yorks.. ii. 449. 

Thomas - 


1404- 1410 

L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 25. 

1 These dates are approximate, and those given in Ellacombe's books are not always 
trustworthy. Moreover Thomas Pennington cannot easily be distinguished from Thomas 
Purdue, whose bells cover the period 1656-1697. 

3 8o 





Authority, or Place where Found. 

Powdrell, William - 


1434- I439 

Essex, p. 20. 

Purdue, George 


1 584- 1 633 

V.C.H., Somerset, ii. p. 

. 432. 




See p. 227. 

William - 




Richard - 

Stoford, Devon, 

1 620- 1 634 

Dorset, p. 169 ; Warwick, 

and Banbury (?). 

pp. 48, 124. 

William - 

Bristol and 


See p. 227. 





i 649- i 688 

Thomas - 



V.C.H., Somerset, ii. p. 



Quernbie, Humphry 



V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 368. 

Robert - ' - 



North, Lines., p. 104. 

"R." - 

14th cent. 

Deedes and Walters, Essex, 

Ransome & Sims 



p. 10. 
Ibid., p. 144. 

*Raughton, William (?) 


ob. 1357 

Stahlschmidt, Surrey Bells, 

Read, Edward - 



p. 22. 
Blewbury, Berks. 

*Redeswell, Richard - 



Vict. Hist., Notts., ii. p. 

*Reed, John 



North, Lines., p. 50. 

Reve, Roger - 

Bury St. 


Essex, p. 52. 



1 584- I 592 

Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 72. 

* Thomas & Michael - 

Nottingham (?). 


V.C.H., Notts. , ii. p. 369. 

Revel, William 


c- !35 6 

Surrey Bells, p. 25. 

* Richardson, Richard 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

* James 




Rider, Robert - 



Essex, p. 8. 

Rigby, Alexander 

Stamfc ird. 

1 684- 1 708 

North, Lines., p. 57. 

Riston, John - 



L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 23. 

Roberts, Thomas 



Shropsh. Arch. Trans., 4th 
Ser., i. p. 64. 

Robinson, I. - 



Addingham, Cumberland. 

*Romney, John de (?) 


i33 I " I 349 

Surrey Bells, p. 20. 

*Ropeford, Roger de 



Ellacombe, Devon, p. 163. 

*Rose, Thomas & William 

Bury St. 

1 390- 1 408 

Essex, p. 50. 

Roskelly, Thomas - 


1 750- 1 768 

See p. 227. 

*Rothe, — 

Bury St. 


Essex, p. 50. 

Rudhall, Abraham, I. 


1 684- 1 735 

See p. 228. 

Abraham, II. - 






1 736- 1 760 


Thomas - 


1 760- 1 783 


Charles - 


1 783- 1 785 







Authority, or Place where Found. 

Rudball, John - 

( Houcester. 

1 783- 1 830 


Rufibrd, John ■ 


1 350- 1 380 

V.C.H., Bucks., ii. p. 118. 

William - 


1 380- 1400 


Russell, Thomas 

Wotton, Beds. 


North, Beds., p. 37. 

William - 




*Ryche, Thomas 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

I. S. 

Pembroke (?). 


T< n by Observer, 3 J an. 1007. 

T. S. 

Gloucester (?). 

1622- 1 639 

Bristol and G lotus. Arch. 
Soc. Tra;is.. xxxiv. p. 

Safford, Thomas 



Raven, Cambs., p. 104. 

Sanders, Richard 


1 703- 1 738 

Tilleyand Walters, Warw., 
p. '74. 

Saunders, John 


1 539- 1 559 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 66. 

Savery, R. - - - 



Creech, Huish Episcopi, 
Tollard, Som. 

Savill, William 



Stahlschmidt. Kent, p. 105. 

Schep, William 



Surrey Bells, p. 18. 

Scott, John 


1656- 1664 

Notes and Queries, 10th 
Ser., v. p. 257. 

William - 




Seller, Edward 


1669- 1 724 

Assoc. Archil. Soc. Hep., 
xxvii. p. 637. 

Edward - 


1 724- 1 764 


William - 



North, Lines., p. 1 ^7 ; 
V.C.H., Yorks.. ii. 451. 




Briscoe, Old Notts., 1st 
Ser., p. 112. 

Richard - 


1 536- 1 548 

V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 368. 

Semson, Roger 

Aish Priors, 

c 1550 

Ellacombe, Somerset, p. 3. 

Seward, A.- 



Ingleton Fells, Yorks. 

Shaw, J. - 


1 848- 1 902 

Silisden, William 


14th cent. 

Old Walsingham, Norfolk. 

Sleyt, John 



Glapthorne, Northants; N. 

' cent. (?) 

Elkington, Lines. 

Smith, Abraham 



Assoc. Air hit. Soc. A'e/., 
xxvii. p. 634. 



1656- 1663 


■ Samuel - 


1 662- 1 709 

Ibid.. ]). 63V 

Samuel - 




Gabriel - 



Tattenhall, Chesh. 


Clos worth, 
Somei set. 

1 762- 1 767 

Upwey, Dorset. 


Edgbasfc >n. 

I 701-1732 

Tille\ and Walters, WatW., 
p. 72. 

I'.uu ich, I Derbyshire. 

J., & Co. 



*Smyth, William 


c. 1510 

St. Mary-at-I lill, London 
p. 190). 

*Sowerbv, Thomas de 



V.C.H., Y, rks., ii. 450. 

Stadler, J. 

( Ihulmleigh, 

1693 17 ' ^ 

Ellacombe, A von, p. 58. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Stafford, John de 



Warwick, p. 14. 

Thomas - 



Cumb. and Westm. Arch. 
Soc. Trans., xiii. p. 

Stainbank, Robert - 




See Mears and Stainbank. 

Stanley, W. P. 



Stares, J. ... 


1 744- 1 746 

Crawley and Silchester, 

Wilts. (?) 


Stephens, John 



L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 42. 

Stevenson, J. - 



Levland, Lanes. 

*Stokesley, William - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Sturdy, John - 


1440- 1458 

See p. 186. 

Joanna - 


1440- 1 46 1 

Ibid, (and see Hille). 

*Sutton, John - 



L'Estrange, Nor/., p. 25. 

Swain, Thomas 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 141. 

Swan, Stephen 



Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 81. 

I. T. 


15th cent. 

Ellacombe, Devon, p. 48. 

R. T. - 


c. 1480 

Tapsel, Henry - 

W. Tarring, 

1 588- 1 604 

Suffolk, p. 103 ; Sussex, p. 

Sussex, &c. 



W. Tarring, 

1 600- 1 633 

Tyssen, Sussex, p. 24. 

*Taunton, Roger de - 



Hist. MSS. Comm., vi. p. 

Taylor, Robert 

St. Neot's. 


Owen, Hunts., p. 45. 

William & John 



Ibid., p. 46. 


Brewer, Devon. 


Ellacombe, Devon, p. 60. 



1 840- 1 858 

Tilley and Walters, War- 
wick, p. 81. 

J. W. - 


1 858- 1 906 


- J. W. & E. D. 



*Tenand, John - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Thornton, John 


1 708- 1 720 

Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. 123. 

*Thwaites, William - 



V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 450. 

Tompion, Thomas - 



Willington, Beds. 

Tonne, John - 

(Sussex and 
Essex. ) 


Essex, p. 55. 

Stephen - 


1 544- 1 546 

Ibid., p. 59. 

Stephen, II. • 

Bury St. 


Ibid., p. 78. 

Tooke, Edward 



L'Estrange, Norf., p. 39. 

Tosier, Clement 



Lukis, Ch. Bells, p. 8. 

William - 






1 684- 1 723 


*Trevor, Valentine 


c. 1592 

Lukis, Ch. Bells, p. 18. 

*Tunnoc, Richard 


I 320- I 330 

Yorks. Arch. Journ., xviii. 
p. 99. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Urry, B. - 

I. of Wight 


Whitwell, I. of Wight. 

P. w. .... 


14th cent. 

Essex, p. 10. 

T. W. - 


1 585- 1 609 

Haverfordwest , I'enili. 

Wakefield, Anthony 

- . ( ? > 


Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 61. 

Thomas - 



Tyssen, Sussex, p. 24. 

William - 



Cocks. />'//, /.''... p. 93. 

Wald, John del 

(Yorks., E. 
Riding. ) 

14th cent. 

V.C.H., Yorks., ii. 451. 

- Thomas del 


14th cent. 


Walgrave, John 



See p. 189. 

♦Walker, Hugh- 



Essex, p. 66. 

Walker & Co. - 



Walker, ----- 



Llanrwst, Denbigh. 

Wallis, John - 



Lukis, Ch. Bells, p. 7. 

Warner, John - 


1 788-1802 

Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 1 14. 

John, & Sons - 



Warren, John • 



Raven, Cambs , p. 67. 

Wasbrough, Hale, & Co. - 


1 830- 1 83 1 

Gerrans, Cornwall. 

Watson, R. - - - 



Hart, Durham ; Rock, 



W T aylett, John - 

Stortford, &c. 


Essex, p. 1 1 9. 

Do. ... 



Watts, Hugh - 



Warwick, p. 39. 

— Francis - 


1 564- 1 600 

Do., p. 38. 

William - 



Do., p. 39. 

- Hugh, II. 



Do., p. 42. 




Welles, William 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 76. 

Wells, Robert - 



1 764- 1 799 




Westcote, J. N. 



Weston, Peter de 


1 328- 1 347 

Surrey Bells, p. 16. 

* Thomas de 



Ibid., p. 19. 




Meerbrook, Stall's. 

•White, John - 



See p. 199. Probably two 

1553 (?) 

of the name. 



1 5 i.i-1539 

Cocks, Bucks., p. 61. 

* Thomas - 



Aects. of Cardinal Coll., 

Whitmore, William - 



Bredon, Worcs. 

William - 

Watford, cSx. 


Deedesand Walters, E 

Wickes, Robert 



]>. 112. 
Stock, Essex. 

Wightman, William 



Essex, p. 1 16. 

- Philip 




Wilkinson, Humphrey 



North. Lttus., p. 58. 

Wilner, John - 

Borden, Kent. 


Stahlschmidt, Kent, p. 82. 



1 629- 1 644 


Wiseman, Robert 



Ellacombe, Devon, p. 53. 






Authority, or Place where Found. 

Wilts, Edne - 




Culham, Oxon. 

Wodewarde, William 



Essex, p. 24. 

•Wolley, John - 


Warwick, p. 21 ; V.C.H., 
Notts., ii. p. 369. 

*Wood, Thomas 



V.C.H., Notts., ii. p. 369. 




Essex, p. 117. 

Woods, C. S. - 



Baildon, Yorks. 

*Wragg, William 



White, Worksop, p. 325. 

Wright, Laurence 



Stahlschmidt, A'ent, p. 62. 

Wroth, Thomas 



V.C.H., Somerset, ii. p. 


43 2 - 

Wymbish, Michael - 



Surrey Bells, p. 6. 

Richard - 




Walter - 


c. 1320 

Ibid., p. 10. 

Vare, William - 



Cocks, Bucks., p. 91. 

Yaxley, Henry 


I 658- I 684 

Deedesand Walters, Essex, 
p. in. 

Yorke, John de 



Tilley and Walters, JVarw., 
p. 17. 

NOTE. — To the above list should be added : — 

Rous, Nicholas le - London. c. 131 5 Surrey B tils, pp. 13, 73 
(He is probably identical with the Nicholas given on p. 378.) 

Warre, William - 

Yetminster, ob. 1624 

Index Library, vol. 44 
(Wills in Pre-Rog. 
Court of Cant.). 


[Illustrations <ve denoted by numbers in tliick type) 

Abberley (Worcs.), 352 
Abson (Gloucs. ), inscription, 326 
Addington (Kent), inscription, 330 
Aerschodt, Severin van. founder, 113 
Aish Priors (Somerset), foundry at, 1N0. 

Alcuin quoted, 256 
Aldbourne (Wilts.), 195; foundry at, 222, 

309 ; inscriptions on bells, 322, 340 ; 

and see Cors 
Alkborough (Lines.), inscription, 326 
Alvechurch (Worcs.), inscription, 339 
Alwington (Devon), inscription, 324 
Alwoldus, campanarius, 86 
Ampthill (Beds.), foundry at, 232 
Andrew, St., see Dedications 
Anthony, St., bells named after, 122 ; and 

see Dedications 
Antwerp Cathedral bells. 1 1 1 
Appowells, founders, 232 ; lettering 

291. 293 
Arlesey (Beds.). 355 
Armagh, bell of, 7 
Arnold, Edward, founder. 240 
Arreton (Isle of Wight), sanctus bell at. 

Arundel. Archbishop. 143 
Ashfield, Great (Suffolk), inscription, 339 
Ashley (Hants). 60, 61 
Ashover (Derby), inscription, 346 
Ashton, Ralph and Luke, founders. 254 
Aston Abbots (Mucks. 1. customs at, [37 
Attons, founders, 232 ; lettering of, 291 
Augustine, St., see Dedications 
Austen, Robert, founder, 225 ; bell by, 

Aylesford (Kent), customs at, 136 
Aylestone (Leics. ). 355 




Backwell (Somerset), inscription. 339 
Badgworth (Gloucs.), inscription, 33N 
Bagleys, founders, 240, 333; Henry, 8i, 
240; Henry III., 232, 240; James, 
219 ; Matthew of Chacomb and Eves- 
ham, 230, 240; Matthew of London, 
179, 219 ; William, 240 
Bakewell (Derby), inscriptions. 342 
Barbara, St., see Dedications 
Barber, John, founder, 196, [98, 200, 313, 

Baret, John, 1 1 1. 125, 161, 163 
Barker, William, founder, 207 
Barnstaple, bells on spire at. 174 
Barnwell Priory, ringing rules at, 21, 85 
Barrow-on-IIumbcr (Lines.), foundry at, 

Martlet. James, founder, Si. 210 ; Thomas, 

216 : Anthony. 216 
Bartlow (Cambs. ), inscription, 264 
Baschurch (Salop), foreign bell at. 211, 212 
Bath Abbey, inscription, 346 
Bawtry (Yorks.), foundry at. 255 
Baxter, Richard, founder. 205 
Bayeux Cathedial, ringing at. 125 
Bayley & Street, founders, 2J7 
Beaconstield. Karl of, muffled peal lor. 104 
Beccles (Suffolk), detached tower, 67 ; 64 
Bei ketl , Sir 1 , see < oimthorpe 
Bede, Ven., quoted, 13, 156 
Bedfordshire, foundries in, 103. 233, 242 
Belgium, bells in, 111: and see Low 

Bellyetere, William le, stamps of, 302, 

303 ; and see Appendix 
Belton (Lincs.)i font, 86; - in Axholme 

(Lines. 1. 1 10. ui 

Benet le Seynter, campanarius, So 




Bergholt, East (Suffolk), bell-house at, 52 
Berkeley, Sir Robert, 138 

Berkshire, inventories of goods in, 96, 161 ; 

weights of bells in, 96 ; foundries in, 

194, 221 
Bethnal Green, see London 
Bett, Thomas, founder, 203 
Beverley Minster, 47, 107, 108, 277 ; Great 

John of, IOI 
Bicester (Oxon.), foundry at, 232 
Bicker (Lines.), sanctus bell, 133, 317 
Bilbies, founders, 48, 226, 227 ; inscrip- 
tions by, 336, 338 
Billericay (Essex), 185, 282 
Binfield (Berks.), inscription, 336 
Bird, John, founder, 188 ; cross used by, 

Birmingham foundry, 232 
Bishampton (Worcs. ), 129, 150 
Bishop's Stortford (Herts.), foundry at, 234 
Bisley (Surrey), inscription, 320 
Bitterley (Salop), inscription, 327 
Blackmore Priory (Essex), bell from, 129 
Blakesley (Northants), inscription at, 120, 

342 ; custom at, 151 
Blews, founder, 232, 295 
Blisvvorth (Northants), inscription, 332, ^^ 
Blythburgh (Suffolk), Jack-of-clock at, 171 
Bolton-in-Craven (Yorks. ), inscription, 322 
Bolton Percy (Yorks.), inscription, 254 
Bond, Anthony, founder, 220 
Boningale (Salop), 293 
Borden (Kent), foundry at, 220 
Bordesley Abbey (Worcs.), bells of, 352 
Boreham (Essex), inscription, 233 
Boston (Lines. ), carillon at, 113; sanctus 

bell at, 130; obit bell at, 163, 170 
Botolphs (Sussex), inscription, 323 
Bottesford (Lines.), sacring bell from, 129. 

Boulogne Museum, bell in, 5 
Bowden Magna (Leies. ), 150 
Bowell & Son, founders, 238 
Bowler, Richard, founder, 235; Augustine, 

Bracker, Austen, founder, 238 ; cross used 

by, 296 
Bradenham, West (Norfolk), 328 
Bradfield (Essex), inscription, 325 
Bradford (Somerset), 274, 310 
Brailes (Warwickshire), old tenor, 95, 188, 

323 ; sanctus bell, 129 
Brasyers, founders, 206 ; stamps of, 206, 

207, 244, 298, 306, 313 
Braughing (Herts. ), New Year's Eve at, 141 
Brends, founders, 238 
Brent, East (Somerset), 115 
Brent Tor (Devon), inscription, 325 
Brereton, R. P., quoted, 58 
Bressingham (Norfolk), 356 

Brewood (Staffs.), inscription. 272 
Briant, John, founder, 234, 299 
Bridgnorth (Salop), 332, 348 
Bridgwater (Somerset), early casting at, 23, 

34 ; foundry at, 227 
Bridport (Dorset), foundry at, 196 
Brigham (Cumberland), 181 
Brightling (Sussex), 346 
Brightlingsea (Essex), 355 
Bristol, foundry at, 197, 227 ; stamps of, 

198, 298, 289, 307, 309 

— Cathedral bells, 282, 309 

— St. Stephen's church, ringing rules at, 

90, 164 
British Museum, bells in, 2, 213 ; 7, 211 ; 

manuscripts in, 5' ji j *9< 87, 127 ; 

14, 257 ; mortar in, 183; 178, 219 
Brixton (Isle of Wight), inscription, 348 
Brokenborough (Wilts.), chime at, 125 
Bromeswell (Suffolk), 211, 212 
Brompton Ralph (Somerset), inscription, 

Bromsgrove (Worcs.), foundry at, 230 
Brooke, William, founder, 230, ^^J 
Brookland (Kent), bell-house at, 69, 64 
Browne, Sir Thomas, quoted, 143 
Buckhorn Weston (Dorset), inscription, 276 
Buckingham, foundry at, 194, 232, 329 
Buckinghamshire, ting-tangs in, 122, 124; 

foundries in, 194, 232 ; Church Bells 

of, 362, 364 
Buckland Brewer (Devon), foundry at, 226 
Bulkley, Bishop, 351 

Bullisdon, Thomas, founder, 190; trade- 
mark, 190, 304 
Burford (Oxon.), foundry at, 232 
Burford, William & Robert, founders, 186, 

. 268 ; lettering of, 289, 314 
Burgh (Lines.), inscription, 340 
Burlingham (Norfolk), 265, 278 
Burnham (Essex), 155 
Burrough, James, founder, 224 
Burton Dassett (Warwick), inscription at, 


— Lazars (Leics. ), turret, 59 

Bury St. Edmund's, early bells at, 17; 
weights of, 95 ; chimes and requiem 
at, in, 125, 161, 163 ; foundry at, 178, 
207, 236 ; stamps of, 208, 236, 305, 
298, 306; bell from, 209 ; inscriptions 
of, 273, 279 

Bushell, Michael, founder, 230 

Caen, ringing at, 69 
Cambridge, chimes at, 1 74 
— King's College bells, 52, 81, 96, \\ 
297, 308, 356 ; bell-house, 51 



Cambridge, St. Benet's, inscriptions, >;j. 

339. 340 
Cambridgeshire, church goods in, 123; 

foundries in, 239 
Canterbury, foundry at, [93, 220 

— Cathedral bells, 17, 79, 95, [76, 270; 

great bell, 103, 1N0 
Carlisle, foundry at, 254 
Carter, Joseph, founder. 74, 2 id. 221; 

William, 178 
Casterton, Little (Rutland), 58, 52. 59 
Castle Ashby (Northants). inscription, 334 
Cattistock (Dorset), carillons at, 112 
Caversfield (Oxon. ; formerly Bucks.). 21, 

130, 281, 320, 359 
Chacomb (Northants), foundry at, 240 ; 

and see Bagley 
Chaldon (Surrey), 19, 23, 2S2 
Chalfield, Great (Wilts.), 65, 61 
Chalfont St. Giles (bucks.), 135 
Chandlers, founders, 233 
Chapman, William, founder, 103, 217 ; and 

see Pack 
Charlemagne, injunction of, 256 
Charles I., death of, 150 

— II., Restoration of, 150 

Charlton Marshall (Dorset), inscription, 

Cheese, Thomas, founder, 237 
Chelsea, see London 
Chepstow, foundry at, 228 
Cherington (Gloucs.), 355 
Chertsey (Surrey), foundry at, 219 ; Abbey, 

194, 195 
Chesterfield (Derbyshire), foundry at. 201. 

Chester-le-Street (Durham), 365 
Chetwode (Bucks.), inscription, 321 
Chewstoke (Somerset), foundry, 227 ; and 

see Bilbies 
Chichester Cathedral, campanile of, 67: 

inscription at. 335 
Chiddingfold (Surrey), inscription, 273 
Child Okeford (Dorset), inscription, 347 
Chinnor (Oxon.). inscription, 324 
Chiselborough (Somerset), 352 
Chittern (Wilts.), 315 
Christchurch (Hants), inscription, 262 
Christopher, St., see Dedications 
Church, Thomas, founder, 17S. 20S ; 

Reignold, 208 
Churchill (Somerset), inscriptions, 337, 339 
' Clapton -in- Gordano (Somerset). 130 
Clark, William, founder, 230 
Clarke. John, founder. 179 
Claughton (Lanes.), 22, 21, 282 
Claxby (Lines.), inscription, 276 
Clerkenwell, see London 
Cley (Norfolk), font at, 125 
Cliburys, founders, 253 ; lettering of. 252 

< llifton, John, founder, 217 

( lilion-on-Tcmef Wi ires. I, inscriptions, 531, 

( loford (Somerset), inscription, 103 
Closworth (Somerset), foundry at, 226 
Clun (Salop), inscription at, 339 
Clungunford (Salop). 331, 365 
Clysl Honiton (Devon), inscription, 324 
Cockey, William, founder. 227 
Cocks, Mr. A. II.. So. 1 op 221. 222, 

362 ff. 
Colchester, ringer s jug at. 87. 04 : foundry 

at, 235 
Cold Ashby (Northants), 306 
Cole, [ohn, founder. 220 
Colsale, John de, founder, 203 
Colton (.Norfolk), inscription, 326 
Congleton (Cheshire), foundry at, 249 
Conington (Cambs. ), inscription, 323 
Copgrave, John de, founder. 204, 317 ; 

stamp of, 303 
Cople (Beds.), inscription. 273 
Corby (Lines.), inscription, 334 
Core, ]ohn, 351 
Cornwall, towers in, 51, 64 ; foundries in, 

Cors, founders. 225, 295. 300: bell by, 311 
Corvehill, Sir William, founder. 170 
Coton (Cambs.), 207 
Coventry, early bells at. Si ; early ringing 

at, 85; bells at, 143. 168,202; funeral 

ringing at, 157, 161 ; foundry at, 230 ; 

inscriptions at, [43, [68,342 
Cowthorpe (Yorks.), inscription, ]2^ 
Crofton (Yorks.). inscription, 267 
Cropredy (Oxon.), 143 
Crosthwaite (Cumberland), ^^^ 
Crost wight (Norfolk), inscription, 237. 321 
Crowch, Robert, founder, 189; stamps of, 

189, 304 
Croyland Abbey (Lines.), bells at, 13 
Cuerdon, William, founder, 234 
Culloden, commemoration ol battle of, 90, 

Cullompton (Devon), foundry at, 226; 

inscription at, 336 
Culverden. William, founder. [9] : letter- 
ing, 191 ; trade mark. 305 
Cumberland, foundries in. 234 
Curd worth 1 Warwick), 137 


Dalton, George, founder. 253 

Damerham (Wilts.), inscription, 347 

1 >and, I lenry. founder. 24a 

Danton, John, founder. 224 

Danyell. John, founder, 17s. [89; stamps 

used by, 297. 304. 1S0: lettering of, 


3 88 


Darbie, Michael, founder, 179, 237; John, 


Dawe, William, founder. 188; stamps of, 
188. 303. 317 

Dean. East, near Chichester (Sussex), in- 
scription, 327 

— East, near Eastbourne (Sussex), in- 

scription, 325 
Dehden (Essex), 178, 208 
Denison, Archdeacon, 115 ; and see Grim- 

Denmark, early bells in, 27, 28 
Derby, customs at, 137 
Derby, founder, 194, 205 
Derbyshire foundries, 201, 251 
Dereham, East (Norfolk), foundry at, 239 
Devizes (Wilts.), foundry at, 224 
Devonshire foundries, 196, 225 
Dewsbury (Yorks.), 138, 264 
Dier, John, founder, 179 
Diss (Norfolk), 264 
Dobson, William, founder, 239 
Doddes, Robert, founder, 216 
Dorchester (Oxon.), inscriptions, 265 
Dorset foundries, 196, 225 
Doubleday, Margery, 145 
Doveridge (Derbyshire), 253, 330 
Downham (Norfolk), foundry at, 239 
Downside Abbey (Somerset), bell at, 243 
Draper, Thomas & John, founders, 236 
Drayton Parslow (Bucks.), foundry at, 233 
Driver. John, founder, 237 
Droitwich, St. Peter (Worcs.), inscription, 

Ducange quoted. 176 
Dunkerton (Somerset), inscriptions, 338, 

34 1 ... 

Dunmow, Great (Essex), inscription, 341 

— Priory bells, 265, 270 
Dunsforth (Yorks.), inscription, 319 
Durandus quoted, 116, 154 

Durham Cathedral, sermon bell at, 119, 


— Castle, bell at, 293 

Earlsheaton (Yorks. ), ringing at, 84 
Eayre, Joseph, founder, 240, 332 ; Thomas, 

Eckington (Worcs.), inscription, 341 
Edbury, James, founder, 237 
Edenbridge (Kent), customs, 118, 137 
Edgbaston (Warwick), foundry at, 230 
Edmonton, Geoffrey of, founder, 185 ; 

lettering of, 282 
Edmund, St., see Dedications 
Edward the Confessor, funeral of, 160 
— III. and Thilippa, heads of, 299, 298 

Edwardestone (Suffolk), inscription, 338 
Egbert, Archbishop, rules of, 13; Pontifical 

of, 257 
Egerton, Thomas, 351 
Eglingham (Northumberland), 211, 212 
Eldridge, Brian, founder, 220 ; Thomas 

and Richard. 222 ; William, 220 
Elizabeth, accession of, 140, 150; arms of, 

Elizabethan period, bells of, 293, 329 
Ellacombe, Canon H. T. E., quoted, 5 ff. , 

45, 48, 69, 7^. 84 ; see also 365 
Ellesborough (Bucks.), 140 
Ellough (Suffolk), inscription, 321 
Elsing (Norfolk), inscription, 336 
Ely Cathedral bells, 95, 179 
Epworth (Lines.), 139, 144, 149, 167 
Ercall, High (Salop), inscriptions, 344 
Essex, foundries in, 193, 235 ; bells stolen 

in, 353 
Ettington (Warwick). 121 
Evans, Evan & William, founders, 228 
Evesham, foundry at, 230 
Exeter, foundry at, 197, 225 ; characteristic 

inscriptions of, 263, 276, 325 
— Cathedral bells, 17, 103, 107, 108, 120 
Exhall (Warwickshire), 185, 285 

Eareham (Hants), inscription, 346 
Farmer, Henry, founder, 228, 295, 336 ; 

lettering of, 252 
Felstead (Essex), 310 
Finch. John, founder, 228 
Finchley St. Paul (Middlesex), inscription, 

Fishtoft (Lines.), inscription, 169 
Fladbury (Worcs.), sanctus bell, 131, 129, 

*33 . 

Flint, William de, founder, 306 

Florence, early bell at, 25. 27 
Fontenailles, Normandy, 24, 45, 212 
Fowey (Cornwall), ringing rules, 91 
l-'ramlington Pigott (Norfolk), 353 
Friskney (Lines.), inscription, 144 
Frodsham (Cheshire), 122 
Frome (Somerset), foundry at, 227 
Fulda, Germanv, 126 

Gabriel, St., see Dedications 
Gainford (Durham), inscription, 326 
Gamlingay (Cambs. ), indulgences at, 260 
Gardiner, Thomas, founder, 237 
Gasquet, Abbot, quoted, 142 
Gefferies, Thomas, founder, 199 



Germany, early bells in, 28 

Gerona, Spain, chime of bells at, 125. [26 

Giles, Edmund Ov Thomas, founders, 220 ; 

Geoffrey, 230 
Gillett & Co., founders, 112 
Glastonbury Abbey bells, 52 
Gloucester, foundry at, 179, 1S1, 199, 228 

— Cathedral hells, 103, 310, 321, 330: 

chimes at, 1 1 1 

— St. Nicholas, bells, 130, 318, 321 
Gloucester, John of, founder, 95, 199 ; 

Sandre, 199 ; seal of, 199 

(iloucestershire, foundries in, 197 ff. , 227 
ff. ; bells of monasteries in, 350 

Godshill (Isle of Wight), 60, 61 

Goldsmith, John, founder, 239 

Goodman, Gabriel, 145, 216 

Goodworth Clatford (Hants). 311 

Goring (Oxon.), 182, 282. 315, 322 

Gorleston (Suffolk), inscription. 326 

Gosselin, John, founder, 19S 

Grandbbrough (Warwick), inscription, 241 

Grandison, Bishop, 1 16 

Giaye, Miles, founder, 109, 235 ; Chris- 
topher, 233, 236 

Grayingham (Lines.), inscription, 276 

Grene, Nicholas, founder, 201 ; John, 229, 

Greystoke (Cumberland), 290 
Grimley (Worcs. ), 200, 290 
Grimthorpe, Lord (Sir E. Beckett), 33, 49. 

104, 108 
Grindal, Archbishop, 155, 161, 170 
G nival (Cornwall), lines in belfry, 263 


Hadley, Isaac, founder, 228 

Halford (Warwick), inscription, 276 

Hall, Edward and William, founders. 233 

Hammersmith, see London 

Hampshire foundries, 220 

Hancoxes, founders. 251 : lettering of, 

252. 205 : borders. 301 ; trade-mark, 

306 ; mediaeval seals, 309 
Hannington (Northants), inscription. 334 
Hanwell (Oxon.), inscription. 347 
Harding. M., 134 
Hardy, John, founder, 237 
Harewood (Hereford), 363 
Harringworth (Northants). sanclus, 129, 

Harrison, James, founder, 246 
Harrys, Thomas, founder, 190 
Harwich, storm-bell at, 262 
Hatch, Thomas and Joseph, founders, 220 
Hathersage (Derby), ringing rules. 01 
Hatton (Warwickshire). 263 
Haulsey, William, founder, 239, 331 

Ilawkes. Peter, founder, 236, 309 
Hawstead (Suffolk), sacring bell, 124. 123, 

Ilayle (Cornwall), foundry at, 226 
Hazelwood, William, founder, 193 ; letter 

ing of, 195 
Heathcotes, founders, 202, 231, 309 
I [eckfield 1 1 [ant 3), inscription, 326 
Hedderlys, founders, 251, 233, 203, 299 
Hedon (Yorks.)i inscription, [60, 312 
Heighington (Durham), inscription, 262 
Hellesdon (Norfolk), 321 
Hemins, Edward, founder. 223 
Hendley, Robert, founder. 200 
Hendon (Middlesex), foreign bell at. 211. 

Henry VI., Oueen Margaret, and Prince 

Edward, heads of, 300 
Henshaw, William, founder, 200 
Hereford Cathedral, inscription. 19S 
Herefordshire foundries. 228 
Hertford, foundry at, 233 
Hertfordshire foundries, 233 
Hertingfordbury (Herts. ), inscription, 233 
Hey, Thomas, founder, 196 
Hickham, Thomas, 176 
Hickling (Norfolk), inscription. 321 
Hille, Richard, founder. [86 ; trade-mark. 

Hilton, Thomas, founder, 355 
Hodson, Christopher, founder, Si, 100, 

218 ; John, 21S 
Holbeach (Lines.), inscription. 346 
Holdfeld, Richard, founder. 239 
Holton-le-Clay (Lines.), inscription. 319 
Hooper, Bishop, quoted, 117. 133. 133 
Hope Bowdler (Salop), inscription, 324 
Horncastle (Lines.), inscription. 144 
Hornsey (Middlesex), rules at. 93; in- 
scription, 346 
Houghton (Hunts.), inscription, 333 
Howden (Yorks.), sanctus, 120. 1 $3 
Huddleston, Laurence. (S 
Hughes. Ellis, founder. 233 
.Hugo. Magister, 17. 178 
I lull, foundry at. 2^3 
llunthai<!i. William, founder. 230 
Huntingdonshire foundries. 239 


[ckworth (Suffolk), inscription, 330 
Idbury (Oxon.), sanctus bell, 131. 120. 133 
He Abbots (Somerset), inscription, 341 
[mpington (Cambs.), j< > x 
[ngatestone, the Hyde (Essex), 120. 130 
fngrave (Essex), inscription, ;;" 
Ipswich, foundry at, 237 
— St. Laurence, 203. 353 



[pswich, St. Margaret, inscription, 342 

— St. Nicholas, inscription, 337 

Irton (Cumberland), inscription, 347 

[sleham (Cambs. ), 293, 322 

Italy, ancient bells in, 27 

Iwerne Minster (Dorset), inscription, 319 

Jefferies, Henry, founder, 199 ; and see 

Jewel, Bishop, quoted, 134 
John, St., see Dedications 
|ohnson, Ann, 162 
Jordan, Henry, founder, 189 ; lettering of, 

287 ; cross of, 297 ; trade- mark of, 304 
Tovvett, Dr., 174 


Katherine, St., see Dedications 
Keal, West (Lines.), inscription, 156 
Kebyll, founder, 18S ; trade-mark, 188, 

Keene, James, founder, 232 ; lettering of, 

231 ; Richard, 232, 234 
Kelsey, South (Lines.), 162 
Kemble (Wilts.), inscription, 272 
Kent, foundries in, 193, 220 
Kincardineshire, belfries in, 64 
King's Lynn, see Lynn 
King's Sombourne (Hants), turret, 60, 6 1 
Kingston-by-Lewes (Sussex), 185 
Kinnersley (Salop), 55, 57, 134 
Kintbury (Berks.), inscription, 324 
Kipling, Joshua, founder, 221, 347 
Kirby Malzeard (Yorks. ), 180 
Kirkoswald (Cumberland), foundry at, 254 
Knaptoft (Leics. ), 355 
Knight, Samuel, founder, 48, 219, 293; 

Ellis, Henry, and William, 221, 222 ; 

William of Closworth, 227 

Laindon Clays (Essex), inscription, 330 

Lambley (Notts.), 134 

Land, William, founder, 178 ; mortar by, 

Landen, Roger, founder, 194, 273, 305, 

Lanfranc, rules of, 13, 116 
Langhorne, John, founder, 188 ; shield 

used by, 188 
Latimer, Bishop, quoted, 119, 262, 354 
Lavenham (Suffolk), tenor, 109, 235 
Laurence, Thomas, founder, 191 ; stamps 

used by, 307, 304, 309, 314 

Leaden Roothing (Essex), 191, 293, 321 
Leeds Castle (Kent), 211, 212 
Lees and Wright, founders, 254 
Leicester foundry, 202, 241 ff, 313 ; 

lettering of, 285, 284, 293 ; borders 

of, 300 
Lester and Pack, founders, 103, 217 ; 

inscriptions of, 345 
Leverton (Lines.), 159 
Lewes, Gabriel bell at, 144 
Leyton (Essex), inscription, 324 
Lichfield, foundry at, 201 
Lilbourn (Northants), inscription, 333 
Lincoln, foundry at, 246 

— Cathedral, early bells at, 17 ; ringing 

rules, 86 ; Great Tom, 100, 180, 244 ; 
legend of bells at, 261 

Lincolnshire, bells in, about 1550, 124 ; 
foundries, 205, 246 ; dedications of 
bells in, 267, 269 ; lettering on bells 
in, 283, 284 ; loss of bells from, 354 

Lindridge (Worcs. ), 125 

Littlebury (Essex), inscription, 347 

Littleton, South (Worcs.), bell cast at, 
180 ; inscription at, 264 

— West (Gloucs.), 61 
Liversedge (Yorks.), inscriptions, 347 
Llangwynodl (Carnarvonshire), early bell 

at, 6 

Llantrissant (Glamorgan), 181 

Lois Weedon (Northants), inscriptions, 331 

London, early ringing in, 21, 85, 86 ; later, 

86 ff. ; great rings in, 107 ; chimes 

of bells, 125 ; curfew rung in, 148 ; 

foreign bell in, 212 ; bell-dedications 

in, 265 ; bells sold from, 351 ; 

founders, 175, 181 ff, 213ft". '■> patron 

saints favoured by, 268, 269 ; lettering 

of, 282 ff., 295 ; trade marks of, 303 ff. 

— Aldgate, foundry in, 175, 182 ff. 

— All Hallows Staining, 211, 212 

— Bethnal Green, long peal at, 84 

— Billiter Street, 175 

— Charterhouse, curfew at, 149 ; bell at, 


— Chelsea, bell at, 147 ; foundry at, 219 

— Clerkenwell, inscription, 278 

— Cripplegate, foundry in, 219 

— Hammersmith, early bell at, 1 15, 146 

— Newgate, bell of, 167 

— St. Andrew Hubbard, 157 

— St. Bartholomew Great, Smithfield, 190, 

265, 270 

— St. Bartholomew Less, 273 

— St. Dunstan-in-West, 173 

— St. Gabriel, Pimlico, 270 

— St. Martin-in-Fields, 70 

— St. Mary-at-Hill, 190, 348 

— St. Mary-le-Bow, 108, 147 

— St. Mary Woolchurch, 154, 349 



London, Si. Paul's Cathedral, campanile, 

63, 64 ; hells of. 77, 99 ; 9S, 107, 351 ; 
ringing at, on New Year's Eve, 75, 141 ; 
bell tolled for deaths, 163 

- St. Peter, West Cheap, 265 
— ■ St. Sepulchre, Ilolborn, 166 

— Southwark Cathedral. 107, 108 ; tenor, 


— Stepney, inscription. 348 

- Westminster, Great Tom of, 99. 217. 210 
Westminster Abbey, early bells and 

ringing at, 18, 21, 85 ; campanile of, 
63,64; method of ringing at, 121, 137, 
145 ; existing bells, 185, 216 

— Westminster, St. Margaret, 95, 96 

— Westminster, St. John, 364 

- Whitechapel, foundry at, 216 ft'., 302, 

345 ; and see Mears 
Longfellow, Golden Legend, quoted, 261 
Longnor (Shrops.), 201 
Long Stratton (Norfolk), inscription, 327 
Lopham, South (Norfolk), 328 
Lott, John, founder, 224 
Loughborough foundry, 98, 113, 245 ; and 

see Taylors 
Louvain foundry. 113 
Loveday, Thomas, founder, ill, 200 
Low countries, bells from, 208 ff. ; and see 

Lucas. E. V., quoted, 234 
Ludlam, Joseph, founder, 255 
Ludlow, ringing by deacons at, 85 ; carillon 

at, 112 ; names of mediaeval bells at. 

117 ; bell cast at, 180 
Lugwardine (Herefordshire), inscription. 

Lukis, Rev. \\ . C, quoted, 335 
Lynn, foundry at, 205 


Madingley (Cambs. ), inscription, 278 
Maldon All Saints (Essex), sanctus, 130 

inscription, 337 
Mallows, Joseph, founder, 239 
Manningford Abbots I Wilts. ), 360 
Manton (Rutland), 57, 52, 59 
Mapledurham (Oxon. I. inscription, 332 
Margaret, St., see Dedications 
Margaretting (Essex), 307 
Mark (Somerset), inscription, 337 
Marsham (Norfolk), 159 
Martene quoted, 3, 256 
Martin. John, founder, 229, 330 
Martley~(Worcs.), 180 
Marton-cum-Grafton (Vorks. ), 23, 282 
Mary, St., see Dedications 
— Magdalene, St., see Dedications 

Maulden (Beds.), inscription, 324 

Mears, C. G., founders, 100, 218; Thomas, 
103, 217 ; William, 217 

— Stainbank, 218; bells by, 43. 101 

Mellours, founders, 203. jo6 

Melton Mowbray, passing bell at. 155 

Melverley (Shrops. 1. 55. (>i 

Meriden (Warwick), inscription, 337 

Merston, Robert, founder, 306 

Michael, St., see Dedications 

Mickleover (Derby-hire), 295 

Middleton-in-Teesdale (Durban,), inscrip- 
tion, 155, 323 

Minster (Kent), inscription, 326 

Mitchell, John, founder, 194: Henry, 201 

Monmouthshire foundries. 228 

Montacute (Somerset), foundry a!. 226 

Moscow, great bell at, 96 

Mot. Robert, founder, 216 ; bell by, 213; 
trade-mark of, 216 

Motcombe (Dorset), inscription. 333 

Myddle (Shrops.), inscriptions. 277. 332 


Neale, Edward, founder, 232 

Netteswell (Essex), inscription, 325 

Newbury (Berks. ). 137 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, customs at, 147, 165 

Newcombes, founders, 233, 242. 310, 328, 
336; Robert, 103, 241 ; Thomas. 203, 
241 : Edward cV William, 242 

Newman, Charles & Thomas, founders, 
23S, 239 

Newton-by-Castle Acre (Norfolk 1. inscrip- 
tion, 278 

Nicholas, St., see Dedications 

Nollekens quoted, 156 

Norfolk, sacring bells in, 125, 130; 
foundries in, 205 ff., 238; dedications 
of bells in, 267, 269 ; fate of bells in. 
.151- Mi 

Norris, ITobie and Thomas, founders, 246, 

Northamptonshire foundries, 240 

Northfield (Worcs.), inscriptions. 340 

Norton, Robert, founder. 17S. 197; 
Stephen, 186, 103. 310, 352 ; lettering 
of. 282. 2S4 

Norwich, foundry at, 203. 238; inscrip- 
tions typical of, 268, 276 tf. 

— Cathedral, campanile, 04 ; inscription 

at, 322 

— St. John Sepulchie, inscription, 205 
Nottingham, foundry at, 203, 246 ff. ; 

stamps of, 249. 250, 292. 296. 301 ; 

295. 299. 300- 3061 3*4 

— St. Mary, 247, 249 

— St. Peter, 145 




( aldington (Clones.), 228 

Odyngton, Walter de, 18, 34 

Okeford P^itzpaine (Dorset), inscription, 

Oldfield, Henry, founder, 103, 246; bell 
hy, 247 : stamp of, 249, 307; lettering, 
250 : border, 301. 300 ; George, 249 ; 
lettering of, 250 ; border, 300, 301 

- Richard, 253 ; lettering of, 294 

— Robert (Hertford), 233; (York), 254 

- William (York), 254 ; (Canterbury), 

lettering of, 290 
Orton-on-Hill (Leics. ), inscription, 334 
Osney Abbey, bells of, 261, 278, 352 
Owmby (Lines.), inscription, 149 
Oxburgh (Norfolk), inscription, 334 
Oxford, curfew at, 147 ; bell at funerals, 

160 ; Jack-of-the-clock, 173 ; Michael 

Darbie's work at, 179, 237 ; foundry 

at, 232 

— Christ Church bells, 188, 352 ; Great 

Tom, 100, 278 

— Merton College, 81 

— St. Mary the Virgin, music on bell at, 

Oxfordshire, foundries, 232 

Pack, Thomas, founder, 153, 217, 333, 

345 ; and see Lester 
Packington, Great (Warwick), 133, 346, 

Paignton (Devon), foundry at, 196 
Palmer, John, founder (Canterbury), 220; 

(Gloucester), 228 
Papillon, Rev. Canon, quoted, 49, 79, 81 ff. 
Parr, Dr. Samuel, 263 
Partridge, Sir Miles, 351 
Passenham (Northants), 335 
Paulinus, Bishop, 3 
Payhembury (Devon), inscription, 325 
Peckham, Archbishop, 126 
Peckleton (Leics.), inscription, 332 
Peever, Aaron, founder, 254 
Penn, Henry, founder, 241, 331 
Penningtons, founders, 225, 330 
Penrith (Cumberland), foundry at, 254 
Penton Mewsey (Hants), sacring bell at, 

Pepys, Samuel, quoted, 157 
Perranarworthal (Cornwall), inscription, 

Pershore (Worcs. ), carillon at, 112; bell 

stolen from, 356 
Peter, St., see Dedications 

Peterborough, foundry at, 241 
Petistree (Suffolk), inscription, 278 
Phelps, Richard, founder, 99, 217 
I'ilton (Devon), inscription, 337 
Pinker, Henry, founder, 196 
Pisa, Italy, early bells at, 27 
Playford (Suffolk), inscription, 278 
Pleasant, Henry, founder, 237, 337 
Pleshey (Essex), 170 
Plumstead, Great (Norfolk), 289 
Polesworth (Warwick), ringers' rules 
Potter, John, founder, 204 ; Thomas 

lettering of, 289 
Priston (Somerset), inscription, 277 
Purdue, Thomas, founder, 103, 

William and Richard, 224, 226 

335 ; George, 226 

at, 93 

226 ; 

Quarnby, Henry & Robert, founders, 246 
Quivil, Bishop, 185, 196 


Raphael, St., see Dedications 

Raveley, Little (Hunts.), 153 

Rawreth (Essex), inscription, 325 

Rayleigh (Essex), 293 

Reading, foundry at, 194, 221 

— St. Lawrence, y^, 257, 327 

Redgrave (Norfolk), foundry at, 239 

Redstone, V. B., 207 

Reve, Roger, founder, 208 ; bell by, 209 

Giles, 220 
Revel, William, founder, 1S6 : lettering of, 

I8 7 
Richmond (Surrey), inscription, 338 
Richmond (Yorks. ), 142 
Rider, Robert, founder, 186 
Rigby, Alexander, founder, 246, 338 
Riston, John, founder, 205 
Roberts, Thomas, founder, 253 
Rock, Dr., quoted, 136 
Rodbourne Cheney (Wilts. ), inscription, 324 
Rotherham (Yorks.), foundry at, 255 
Royston (Herts.), foundry at, 232, 234 
Ruardean (Gloucs. ), inscription, 334 
Rudhalls, founders, 89, 122, 163, 228, 342, 

343; borders used by, 302, 301; 

initials, 306, 307 
Rufford, John & William,. founders, 194; 

cross used by latter, 296 
Russell, Thomas, founder, 233 
Rutland, bell-turrets in, 58 
Rye (Sussex), hand-bell at, 170, 212 



Sabininnus, 3 

St. Alban's (Herts.), early bells at, 17. iS ; 

mediaeval, 144, 176 
St. Austell (Cornwall), inscriptions, 345 
St. David's Cathedral, inscription, 319 
St. Dunstan, rules of, 13; bells cast 

by, 14 
St. Erney (Cornwall), inscription, 323 
St. Ives (Hunts. ). inscription, 144; foundry 

at, 239, 343 
St. Michael's Mount (Cornwall), 272 
St. Neot's (Hunts.), foundry at, 240 
St. Paul's Cathedral, see London 
Salhouse (Norfolk), sacring bell at, 125 ; 

inscription, 322 
Salisbury, foundry at, 196, 222 

— Cathedral campanile, 62, 64 
Sanders, John, founder, 195, 221 ; Richard. 

230, 346; trade-mark of, 230 
Sandre of Gloucester, founder, 199 
Sandridge (Herts.). 355 
Sandwell Priory (Staffordshire), 126 
Sandwich (Kent), 262 
Scalford (Leics. ), 1S0 
Scarcliffe (Derbyshire), inscription, 277 
Scarrington (Notts.), 289 
Scawton (Yorks. ). 303, 204, 317 
Schep, William, founder, 186 
Scotland, belfries in, 64 
Scott, John and William, founders, 254 
Scotter (Lincolnshire), rules at, 91 
Selborne (Hants), 263 
Seller, Edward, founder, 255, 302 
Semperingham (Lines.), inscription, 334 
Semson, Roger, founder, 197 
Sevenhampton (Gloucs. ), inscription, 334 
Shaftesbury (Dorset), foundry at, 196 
Shakespeare, references to bells in, 120, 

146, 155, 173 
Shapwick (Dorset), inscriptions, 268, 2S0 
Shaxton, Bishop, quoted, 135 
Sherborne (Dorset), fire lie, 1, 168, 343 ; 

foundry at, 225 
Sherburn-in-Elmet (Yorks.), 14 
Shillingstone (Dorset), rules at, 92 
Shipton Bellinger (Hants), 308 
Shrewsbury, Sunday uses at, 118, 121 ; 

foundry at, 201, 253 

— Abbey bells. 96, 249 

— St. Chad's, 107, 344 

Shropshire, turrets in, 55, 57, 61, 363; 
customs al funerals, i(>o, 162; foundries 
in, 201, 253 ; early bells in. 358 

Sileby (Leics.), inscription, 346 

Simpson. Rev. ("anon, 29, 48, 49 

Skidbrooke (Lines. ), 355 

Slapton (Northants). sanctus bell. 133 

Sleaford (Lines.). 121, 166 


Smith, Abraham, founder. 254 ; Samuel. 

255- 302 
— Joseph, founder, 230: lettering of, 

Snettisham (Norfolk), 359. 23 
Snowshill (Gloucs.), inscription, 326 
Somercotes, South (Lines.), 285. 205, 

Somersby (Lines.), 205, 284 
Somerset foundries, 107. 226 
Southwark, see London 
Southwold (Suffolk), Jack-of-the-clock, 

171 ; inscription at. 327 
Spain, chimes of bells in, 125 
Spalding (Lines.), 262 
Spelman quoted, 351 
Stafford, Thomas, founder, 254 
Stafford. |ohn de. founder, 202 
Staffordshire foundries, 201. 2^1 
Stahkchmidt, J. C. L., 181 ft'., 265 
Stainbank, see Mears 
Stamford, Sunday bells at, no; obit bells 

at, 163 ; common bell of, 166, 332 ; 

foundry at, 246 
Stanford Dingley (Berks.), inscription. 

Stanion (Northants), 308 
Stanley St. Leonard (Gloucs.), inscription. 

Stedman, F., 81, 83, 84 
Stephens, John, founder, 239 
Stepney, see London 
Stival, Brittany, 8 

Stoke Ash (Suffolk), inscription, 324 
Stoke-by-Clare (Suffolk), inscription. 144. 

Stoke-by-Coventry, 304 
Stow, John, quoted, 147, 148 
Stow (Lines.), rules at, 126 
Stow Bardolph (Norfolk). 356 
Stower Provost (Dorset), inscription. 275 
Strassburg, storm-bell at. 262 
Stratford St. Andrew (Suffolk), inscription, 

Stratton, Long (Norfolk), inscription, 

Strensall (\ orks. ). 317 
Strensham (Worcs. 1. 352 
Stroud i< rloucs. 1. inscription, 346 
Stroxton 1 Lines. ). 152 
Sturdy. John & Joanna, founders. 186 
Sudbury (Suffolk), found r) at. 230 if. 
Sudeley Castle (Gloucs.), inscription, 331 

Suffolk, hells in. about [55O, 123; 

foundries in, 207, 23O : dedication-, of 

bells in. 267 
Surrey foundries. 219 
Sussex foundries. [93, 200 ; itinerants in, 

1 79, 220 
Swain. Thomas, founder, 210 



Taddington (Derbyshire), inscription, 273 
Tamerton, North (Cornwall), inscription. 

Tangley (Hants). 311 
Tarrant Hinton (Dorset), inscription, 274 
Tarring Neville (Sussex), 307 
Taunton, foundry at, 226 
Taunton, Roger de, founder, 196 
Taylors, founders. 98, 100, 104, 232, 240, 

245, 284 ; bells by, 101. 105, 243 
Tewkesbury, campanile at, 63, 64 
Thatcham (Berks.), inscriptions. 341 
Theddlethorpe, St. Helen (Lines.), inscrip- 
tion, 268 
Theophilus quoted, 46 
Thomas, St., see Dedications 
Thome (Vorks. ), 289 
Thornton, John, founder, 237 
Thornton Curtis (Lines.), inscription, 271 
Throckmorton (Worcs. ), inscription, 336 
Ticehurst (Sussex), 341 
Toddington (Beds.), foundry at, 193, 299 
Tong (Shrops. ), early ringers at, 85; 

ringing rules at, 94 ; great bell of, 105. 

Tonne, John, founder, 193 ; stamps of. 

296, 298. 310 ; bell by, 311 ; Stephen, 

193, 236 ; stamp of, 236 
Tosiers, founders, 222 
Tottenham (Middlesex), bell at, 211, 212 
Towthorpe, Friar William de, 176 
Tunnoc, Richard, founder, 45, 204, and 

Twineham (Sussex), inscription, 277 
Tysoe (Warwickshire), 329 
Tyssen, A. D., 305, 365 


Ulcombe (Kent), foundry at, 220 

Underhill, arms of, 303 

Upwood (Hunts.), inscription, 335 


Venlo, Jan van, founder, 212 


Waberthwaite (Cumberland), inscription, 

Wales, early bells in, 6 ; use of hand-bells 

in, 6, 160, 172 
Walgrave, John, founder, 189 ; stamps of, 

187, 189, 304 

Wallis. John, founder. 222. 335 

Walsall, foundry at, 251 

Walsgrave (Warwick), inscriptions, 94, 

Waltham, Great (Essex), inscription, 274 
Wapley (Gloucs. ). 198 
Warblington (Hants), inscription, 319 
Ware (Herts. ), inventory, 122; inscription, 

Warner & Co., founders, 104, 219; bells 

by. 31, 71 
Warwick, William, 199 
Warwickshire foundries. 230 
Watford (Herts.), foundry at, 233 
Wath-on-Dearne (Vorks.), foundry at, 

Wattses, founders, 233, 242, 329 ; Hugh, 

245, 272, 300 
Waverley Abbey (Surrey), early bell 

at, 18 
Waylett, John, founder, 234 
Welles, William, founder, 221 
Wellington (Somerset), foundry at. 227 ; 

(Shrops.), 253 
Wells, Robert & Tames, founders, 225 
Welton (Yorkshire), inscription, 334 
Welwyn (Herts.), inscription, 343 
Wenlock Priory, register of, 176 
Wentnor (Shrops.), 164 
Westcliffe (Kent), 307 
Westminster, see London 
Weston, Peter de, founder, 1S5 ; lettering 

of, 187 
Weston Bampfylde (Somerset), 309 
Westwood, J. O., quoted, 5 
Whitby, early bells at, 13, 156, 261 
White, Gilbert, quoted, 263 
White, John, founder, 199 
Whitechapel, see London 
Whitmore, William, founder, 233 
Whittlesea (Cambs. ), inscription, 343 
Wickham Market (Suffolk), inscription, 

. 338 
Wigan, foundry at, 254 
Wightmans, founders, 219, 301 
Wilding of High Ercall, 344 
Wilkinson, Humphrey, founder, 246 
Wilners, founders, 220 
Wiltshire, type of turret in, 61 ; foundries 

in, 196, 222 
Winchelsea, Archbishop, 21, 115. 153 
Winchester Cathedral, bells at, 14, 123 

— St. John, 220 

— St. Michael, 324 

Windsor, story of sentinel at, 99, 261 
W T inthorpe (Lines.), inscription, 279 
Winwick (Lanes.), 10, 86 
Wiseman, Robert, founder, 226 
Witham-on-Hill (Lines.), inscription, 15D 
Witney (Oxon. ), foundry at, 232 



Wodewarde, William, founder. r88 ; letter- 
ing of. 290 
Wokingham (Berks.), foundry at, 194, 


Wolverhampton, 309 
Wolvey (Warwick), inscription, 324 
Woodstock (Oxon.), foundry at, 232 
Woolborough (Devon), inscription, 264 
Worcester, foundry at, 176, 200, 299; 
stamps of. 201. 296. 300 

— Cathedral bells, 18, 107, 108, 297, 355 ; 

campanile, 64 

— St. Andrew, 277 

— St. Helen, 346 

— St. Martin, 138 

— St. Michael, 200, 274, 290, 330, 364 
Worcestershire foundries, 200, 229 
Worlington (Suffolk), 315 
Worlingworth (Suffolk), epitaph at, 94 
Wright, Laurence, founder, 215 
Wroth, Thomas, founder, 227 

Wymbisbes, founders, 182 ; bell by, 183 ; 

lettering of, 185 
Wymington (Beds.), inscription, 273 

Yare, William, founder, 221 
Vate (Gloucs. )j inscription, 321 
Vatton (Somerset), 198 
Yaxley, Henry, founder, 310 
Yetminster (Dorset), foundry at, 225 
York, foundry at, 204, 254 ; mortar in 
museum at, 176 

- Minster bells, 107, ic8 ; Great Peter, 

100 ; bell-founder's window in, frontis- 
piece ; 45, 204 

- St. Michael-le-Belfry, 60, 61 

Yorke, John de, founder, 202 ; stamps of, 

296. 307 
Yorkshire foundries, 204, 254 


[Illustrations are denoted by numbers in thick type) 

Abbeys, fate of bells from dissolved, 352 
Accession of sovereign, ringing for, 140, 

Acolytes ringing bells, 160 
Advent, ringing in, 139, 140 
Agnus bell, 123 

All Saints' Day, ringing on, 140 
Alms bell, 47, 157 
Alphabet bells, 328 
Angelus, 118, 143, 149, 267 
Anniversaries, secular, ringing on, 150 
Apprentice bell, 169 
Arabic numerals, early use of, 269 
Arms, coats of, on bells, 188, 304 ; 104, 

195. 303, 307, 310; Royal, 304, 310; 

and see Trade-marks 
Ascension Day, ringing on, 139 
Ashburnham bell at Chelsea, 147 
Ave bells, 117, 135, 142 ff., 267 


Baldrick, 29 

Banns, ringing at, 152 

Baptism, ringing for, 152; of bells, 256 ff. 

Bayeux tapestry, scene from, 160, 169 

Bearers' bell, 162 

Belfries, rules for, 90 ff. ; condition of, 363 ; 

and see Bell-house, Campanile, Tower, 

Belfry, derivation of word, 1 
Bell, derivation of, 1 ; parts of, 29 
Bell-cots, see Turrets 
Bell-founders, see Founders 
Bell-foundries, see Foundries 
Bell-frames, 69, 80 
Bell-house, 51, 52, 65; 52; see Belfry, 


Bell-man, 170 

Bell-metal, ^3j sale of, 351 

Bell-ringers, see Ringers 

Bell-ringing, see Ringing 

Bells, origin of, I ; use in classical times, 
2 ; invention of, 3 ; early Christian use 
of, 4; early British, 5 ff. ; introduced 
into churches, 13 ff. ; earliest existing, 
21; foreign, 24 ff., 20S ff . ; methods 
of hanging, 29, 50 ff. ; shape of, 30, 
358; methods of casting, 34 ff. ; tuning, 
47 ff. ; methods of sounding, 73 ff. ; of 
great size, 95 ff. ; weights of, 109; uses 
of, 114 ff. , 262 ; dedication and baptism 
of, 256 ff. ; names of, 264 ; inscriptions 
on, 272 ff. , 315 ft'., 360; decoration of, 
281 ff. ; dated mediaeval, 317; loss and 
destruction of, 350 ff. ; second-hand, 
352 ; investigation of, 362 ff. ; preserva- 
tion of, 365 

Bell-towers, see Towers 

Bell-turrets, see Turrets 

Bellyetere, 175, 182, 205; and see list in 

Big Ben, 33, 49, 104 

Birthdays, ringing for, 150, 151 

Bishop, ringing for, 151 

Black-letter, use of, 186, 281, 289, 361 ; 
in post - Reformation times, 293 ; 
specimens of, 191, 287 ; and see 

Blessing of bell, 259 

Bobs, 84 

Borders, ornamental, 301, 302; 300 

Bow bell, 147 

Brandgoose bell, 166 

Brasses, 29 

Biasyer, 14, 175, 177, 182 

Bride's peal, 104 

Butter bell, 166 




Call bell, 169 

Campana, 2 ff. : etymology, 4 

Campanalcgia, Stedman's, 3, 89 
Campanaritts, 85, 86, 175 

Campaniles: Salisbury, 62 ; St. Paul's, 63 

Westminster, 63; Tewkesbury, 63 
Chichester, 67; other cathedrals, 64 
and see Bell-house, Tower 
Campanologist, 2 

Campanology, 2 ; as a pursuit, 358 ff. 
Cannons of bell, 29 
Canonical hours, 116 ff. 
Canons of church, 1 14 
Capital letters, see Gothic, Roman 
Carillons. 1 1 1 ff. 
Casting-processes. 31. 37. 39, 41. 18, 34 

ff., and frontispiece ; done in churches 

and churchyards, 180 
Casts, method of taking, 362 
Censing of bell, 260 
Change-ringing, Si ff. 
Child, ringing at death of. 158 
Chimes, 1 1 1 ff. ; of sacring bells, 125 
Chiming. 73, in ; for services, 121 ; at 

funerals, 162 
Christmas, ringing at, 138 
Church goods, see Inventories 
Churchwardens, rights of, 115 
Churchwardens' Accounts, references to, 

73, 86, 96, 120, 145, 151, 154, 161. 

170, 180, 349 
Cire perdu process, 45 
Civil War, effect of, on bell-founding. 356 
Clapper of bell, 29, 73 
Cheat , 1. 7 
Clog, 1, 7 
Cloche, 1 

Clocking of bells, 73 
Clocks, bells used for, in, 1 70 ff. 
Coats of arms, see Arms 
College youths, 84, 86 
Commemorative peals, 164 
Common bell, 165 
Confirmations, ringing at, 152 
Consecration of bells, 256 ft. 
Constitutions of archbishops, 115. 124, 126 
Continental bells, see Foreign 
Cope, 2, 36 
Copper in bells, ^ 
Core of mould, 36 
Coronation, ringing for. 150 
Cracking of bells, 30, 73, 357 
Crooks, 36 

Crosses, initial, 296, 297 
Crotals, 4 
Crown of bell. 29 
Crowns on letters, 282, 290 ; 289 
Crucifixion, medallion of, 307 

Cumberland Society, 
Curfew, 143, 146 ft'. 
Customs, 1 14 ft. 


Dagtale bell, 122 

Daily bells, 142 ff. 

Dated bells, foreign, 208, 214 ; mediaeval. 


Dating of bells. 358 ff. 

Deacons, bells rung by, 87, 85 ; and see 

Dead man's peal, 164 

Death knell, 156 

Decoration of bells, 281 ff. 

Dedication of bells, mediaeval, 256 ft'. ; 
ceremonial for, 257 ; modern, 263 

— festival, ringing at, 139 

Dedications of bells, principle of, 264, 267 ; 
compared with those of churches, 266 ; 
list of principal, 269; of rarer, 271 ; 
examples of inscriptions, 272 ff. ; All 
Saints, 274; Holy Innocents, 271; 
Holy Trinity, 272 ; St. Andrew. 277 ; 
St. Anthony, 279 ; St. Augustine. 
278 ; St. Barbara, 269, 320 ; St. Chris- 
topher, 280 ; St. Edmund, 279 ; St. 
Gabriel, 267 ; St. Giles, 279 ; St. 
John, Baptist and Evangelist, 273 ; St. 
Katharine, 268 ; St. Margaret, 279 ; 
St. Mary, 266, 274 ; St. Mary Mag- 
dalene, 279 ; St. Michael, 273 ; St. 
Nicholas, 278 ; St. Peter, 276 ; St. 
Raphael, 273 ; St. Thomas, 278 ; 
Second Person of Trinity, 272 

Devil's knell, 138 

Dinner bell, 137, 146 

Donors of bells, 320; arms of. 310; 
prayers for, 322 

Easter, ringing at, 138, 140, 165 
Empire Day, ringing on. 151 
English mediaeval inscriptions. 326 
Epiphany, ringing for, 139 
Evangelistic symbols, 308 
Evil spirits, bells as charm against, 261 
Executions, bell at, 166 

Fire bell, 16S 

Flemish bells, 170. 211 

Foreign bells, 24 ff. ; in England, 208 ff. ; 

sound of, 48, 49, 80 ; methods of 

hanging, 61 



Founders, early records of, 18. 175 ff., 
196 ff. ; Latin and early names of, 
175 ff. ; monastic, 176 ff. ; journeymen 
or itinerant, 178 ff. ; distribution of 
bells of, 179; migrations of, 181; 
stamps and trade-marks of, 303 ff. ; 
names of, on bells, 316, 361 ; list 
of, 367 ft. ; mediaeval, 182 ff. ; post- 
Reformation, 215 ft". ; foreign, 21 1 
Foundries, see Founders 
Foundry-shields, see Trade-marks 
Frames, see Bell-frames 
French bells, 24 ; in England, 212 
Funerals, bells at, 114, 115, 161 ff. 

Gabriel bell, 143, 144, 264, 267 

Gilds, ringing by, 21, 85 

Gleaning bell, 167 

Glocke, 1 

Good Friday, bells on, 103, 141 

Gothic capitals, use of, 182, 281 ff., 361 ; 
specimens of, 282 290 ; on later bells, 
292; 251, 293, 295, 314; "mixed," 
287, 182, 289 

Grandison of Exeter, 103, 107 

Grandsire Triples, 83 

Greek inscriptions, 333 

Grotesques, 201, 308, 309 

Gudgeons, 29 

Gun-founding by bell-founders, 179, 269 

Guy Fawkes' Day, 149 


Hand, stamp of, 198 
Hand-bells, 5, 6, 7, 8. 14, 169 
Hanging of bells, 30, 31, 71 ; 29, 50 ff, 
69 ; and see Frames, Wheels ; of 
sanctus and sacring bells, 125 ff. 
Harvest Festivals, 141 ; — bell, 167 
Historical allusions on bells, 346 
Holy Communion, ringing for, 118, 123, 

Holy Innocents' Day, ringing on, 140 
Holy Trinity, see Trinity 
Hour-bells, 174 

Hours marked by bells, 116, 172 ff 
Houseling bell, 153 

Ignitegiutn, 146 

Induction bell, 168 

Initials of founders on bells, 306 ; 307, 316 

Inscriptions on bells, 17, 18, 21, 94, 98 ff., 
120, 122, 130, 133, 136, 143, 144, 149, 
150, 153 ff., 160, 163, 166, 168, 169, 
182, 185, 205, 207, 212, 229, 233, 
241, 242, 245, 249, 254, 315 ff. ; 
dedicatory, 264 ff. , 272 ff. ; mediaeval, 
264 ff, 318 ff. ; psot- Reformation, 
328 ff. ; " puzzle," 329 ; cost of, 348 ; 
how to copy, 362 ; preservation and 
recording of, 365 

Inventories of church goods, 96, 123, 160, 
169, 350 ff 

Invitation bell, 162 

Irish bells, early, 7, 9 ; 7 ■, 8 

Itinerant founders, 179 

Jacks-of-the-clock, 171, 173 
John, Great, of Beverley, 101 
Joy-bells, 162 
Jugs, ringers", 87, 94 


Knell, see Death-knell 

Lady Day, ringing on, 140 

Latin, in post-Reformation inscriptions, 

Laver-pots, 178, 303 

Lent, ringing in, 140 

Leonine hexameters, 267 ff., 319 ff., 360 

Lettering on early bells, 21, 22, 24, 27; 
on mediaeval, 281 ff., 361 ; post- 
Reformation, 293 ff. 

Litany, bell for, 120, 137 

Loss of bells, 350 ff. 

" Lower-case," see Minuscules 

Low-side windows, use of, 126 

Lych-bell, 160 


Maiden peal, 47 

Manuscripts, bells illustrated in, 5, II, 15, 
19, 87, 127 ; 14 

Market bells, 166 

Mattins and Mass bells, 117 ff. 

Mayor, ringing at election of, 166 

Mediaeval bells, characteristics, 30, 358 ff. ; 
founders of, 175 ff., 316; inscriptions 
on, 272 ff, 315 ff., 361 ; lettering, 
281 ff., 361 ; stamps, 296 ff., 361 ; 
dated, 317 ; foreign, 24, 208 ff. 



Mid-day bells on Sundays. 135 ff. ; on 
week-days, 146 

Minuscules, Roman, 295 ; and see Black- 

Mixed Gothic lettering, see Gothic 

Monastic founders, 17, 18, 175. 176; — 
hells, fate of, 350 ff. 

Morning bells, 143 ff. 

Morrow-Mass bell, 117, 137 

Mortars of bell-metal, 183; 176, 178, 219 

Mote bell, 165 

Muffled peals, on New Year's Eve, 141 ; 
for King Charles I., 150; at funerals, 

Music on bell at Oxford, 310 


New Year's Eve, ringing on, 75> '4 1 
JVo/a, 2 ff. ; etymology, 3 
Norman bells, 17 ; — turrets, 52 
Norman-French inscriptions, 327 
November 5th, ringing on, 149 

Oak Apple Day, 150 

Obit bell, 163 

Ollariiis, 175 

( )rnamental borders, 300 ; devices, 307 ff. 

( )ven bell, 136, 167 

Pancake bell, 142 

Parochial festivals, ringing on, 141, 166 

Passing bell, 154 ff. 

Patron Saint, bells dedicated to, 264, 267 

Patronal festival, ringing on, 139 

Paul, Great, 98 

Peal, definition of, 82 ; longest known, 84; 
muffled, 141, 150, 164; commemora- 
tive, 164; and see Ringing 

Peter, Great (York), 100 ; (Exeter), 103 ; 
(Gloucester), 103, 321 

Plum-pudding bell, 138 

Pontifical quoted, 257 

Potato bell, 136, 146 

Prayer-Book, directions of. about bells, 114 

Priest's bell, 121 

Pudding bell, 136 

Puritans and bells, 120, 328, 356 

Quarter-turning, 20 


Rebus-shields, 304, 305, 309 

Reformation, changes at, 117, 134, 154, 

263. 293, 328, 350 ff. 
Requiem peals, 161, 163 
Ringers, mediaeval. 21, 79, 85; later, 86 ff., 

94 ; at St. Paul's, 75 
Ringers' jugs, 87, 94 
Ringing, 74ft'. ; primitive, 21, 79, 85 ; law 

relating lo, 155 ; mediaeval customs, 

116, 118; for church services, 121 

— rules, 90 if. 

— societies, 85 li- 
kings of bells, early, 80 ; double, in large 

churches, 81 ; modern, 107 ff. ; of 

eight, 70, 81 ; of ten, 109; of twelve, 

Rogation processions, 169 
Roman Church, consecration of bells in, 

256 ff. 
- lettering, 231, 250. 252. 294, 281, 282, 

293> 295 
Rood-screen, bell hung on, 125 
Royal Arms, 304, 310 
Royal heads, 299. 300 ; 194, 200, 203, 

Royalty, ringing for, 150 
Rubbings of inscriptions, 362 
Rubrics, directions of, about bells. 114 

Sacrament bell, 135 

Sacring bell, 123 ff. ; method of ringing. 

125 ; existing specimens, 130 
St. Anthony bells. 122 
St. Hugh's Day, ringing on, 140 
St. James' Day, ringing on, 140 
St. Katharine's Day, ringing on, 140 
St. Patrick's bell, 6, 8 
St. Thomas' Day, ringing on, 140 
Saints, dedications to, 264 ff, ; and see 

Saints' days, ringing on, 139 
Sanctus bell or saunce, I22ff; number of, 

about 1550, 124 ; method of ringing, 

124; use of, condemned. 1 34 ; position 

of, 126: mediaeval, existing, 129 ff; 

cots or turrets for, original. 131. 135 ; 

133; double, 55. 57. 134 
Saxon bells, 13, 14 
School bells, 169 
Scripture, texts from, 324. 334 
Seals of founders, 199, 306, 317; mediaeval, 

used by I [ancox, 309 
Second-hand bells. 332 
Secular uses of bells, 141, 142, 150 
Sermon bell, iiSti. ; at midday, 137 



Sex denoted l>y tellers. &c. . 15S 
Shields, see Arms, Trade-marks 
Ship, stamp of, 198, 309 
Shoulder of bell, 29 
Shrove Tuesday, ringing on, 142 
Signum, 3, 13, 17, 103 
Silver in hells, 34 
Slider, 30, 80 
Soul bell, 155 
Sound-bow of hell, 29, j$ 
Sponsors of bells, 257 
Spur peal, 152 
Squilla, 3, 13 
Stay, 30, 79 

Stops in inscriptions, 208, 298, 297 ft'., 361 
Storms, bells rung for, 262 
Stuarts, arms of, 312 

Sunday uses, 117 ft". 5 early, 118 ft'.; mid- 
day or later, 135 ft". 
Surplice hell, 121 

" Tailers,'" 157 

Tantony bell, 122 

Technical processes, see Casting, Tuning, 

Tellers, 157 ft'. 
Tin in hells, ^ 
Ting-tangs, 121, 122 
Tintiniiabulum, 2 
Tolling, 73 ; at funerals, 162 
Tom, Great (Westminster), 99 ; (Lincoln 

and Oxford', 100 
Towers, early, 8, 13, 51 ; later mediaeval. 

51 ; detached, 67, 64; oscilla ion of. 

69; condition of, 363; methods of 

ascending, 363 

Trade-marks, 188. 189. 190. 207. 216, 230. 

303- 3«4- 305; 186, 194, 195. 203, 

205, 206, 229, 233, 239, 241, 249, 253, 

302 ft'. 
Treading-plank, 79 
Tree, bell hung in, 52 
Trinity, dedications to, 266, 272 
Trinity Sunday, ringing on, 139 
Tuning of hells, 47; modern methods. 

Turrets, 52 ft"., 353; for sanctus bell. 55. 

131, 135; 57, 133- 134 


University meetings, ringing for, 168 


Vestry meetings, bell for, 165 
Victories, bells rung for, 151 


Waist of bell, 29, 33 
Washing of bell, 258 
Wax, use of, in casting, 45 
Weddings, ringing for, 152 
Week-day uses of bells, 137 
Weights of bells, 33, 35. 50, 109 
Wheels of bells, 30, 80 : 79 ; used 

sacring bells, 125 
Whitsuntide, ringing at. 139 
Winding-bell, 160 

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A Short History of their Architecture : being a remodelled, 
re-illustrated, and enlarged edition of "English Cathedrals 
Illustrated." Containing over 270 Illustrations from photo- 
graphs and a complete set of plans specially drawn to 
a uniform scale. Octavo, cloth gilt. Price 7s. 6d. net 





This book has been specially prepared for those who have 
not had an architectural training and desire an account of 
English Ecclesiastical Architecture not overlaid with 
archaeological and technical detail. It will be a quarto 
volume of large size and handsome type, illustrated with 
many hundred Plans, Drawings, and large size Photo- 
graphs, and will probably be published at a Guinea. 




A handsome volume, containing 348 pages, with 270 Photo- 
graphs, Plans, Sections, Sketches, and Measured Drawings. 
Octavo, strongly bound in cloth. Price 10s. net 


Architectural Association Journal. — "Bright and interesting; evincing 
the author's invariable enthusiasm and characteristic industry." 

Saturday Review. — " Mr Bond leaves us more than ever proud of 
what is left to us of the stately Benedictine house of God, which is to 
the entire English-speaking world a common bond and home." 

Antiquary. — "It has a wealth of capital illustrations, is preceded by 
a bibliography, and is supplied with good indexes to both illustrations 
and text." 

Journal des Savants. — "Certains cliches, comme ceux des voutes, 
des tombeaux et de quelques details de sculpture sont de veiitables 
tours de force. Le choix des illustrations est tres heureux, comme 
d'ailleurs dans les autres ouvrages de M. Bond." 


93 pages of text, abridged from the eighteenth and nineteenth 
chapters of the above book, consisting chiefly of description of 
the Tombs, Monuments, and Cloisters, with 15 Plans and 
Drawings and 32 Photographic Illustrations. Price is. net 


Building Neivs. — "This little work is characterised by its terseness, 
directness, and practical treatment. A carefully compiled and scholarly 

Architect. — "This book will excellently and admirably fulfil its 
purpose. ... A splendid itinerary, in which almost every inch of the 
way is made to speak of its historical connections." 

Architectural Review. — "This is an excellent little text-book. Mr 
Bond is to be congratulated in having introduced into it an interesting 
element of history. The notes in small print should make the visit to 
the Abbey both more profitable and more interesting. The key plan 
and the numerous small plans are extremely clear and easily read. 
The information given is concise and to the point, and a word of special 
praise must be given to the plates at the end ; the subjects of these are 
well chosen and are illustrated by very good photographs." 

LONDON: HENRY FROWDE, Oxford University Press 



A handsome volume, containing 204 pages, with 152 Illustrations 

reproduced from Photographs and Measured Drawings. Octavo, 

strongly bound in cloth. Price 6s. net 


Builder. — "When we look at the detailed photographs we realise 
the richness of the field which Mr Bond has traversed, and congratulate 
him on the choice of his subject. His method is one of singular 
thoroughness from the ecclesiological standpoint." 

Journal of the Architectural Association. — " As a record of the 
screens remaining in our churches it cannot be valued too highly. No 
book till now has brought such a number together, or traced their 
development in so full and interesting a manner. ... A most 
delightful book." 

Builders' Journal. — "The author may be congratulated on the pro- 
duction of a book which, in text as well as in illustrations, is of striking 
and inexhaustible interest ; it is the kind of book to which one returns 
again and again, in the assurance of renewed and increased pleasure at 
each reperusal." 



A handsome volume containing 364 pages, with 426 Illustrations 

reproduced from Photographs and Measured Drawings. Octavo, 

strongly bound in cloth. Price 12s. net 


Irish Builder.— "This book on 'Fonts and Font Covers' is a most 
valuable contribution to mediaeval study, put together in masterly 
fashion, with deep knowledge and love of the subject." 

Journal of the Society of Architects. — "The book is a monument of 
painstaking labour and monumental research ; its classification is most 
admirable. The whole subject is treated in a masterly way with perfect 
sequence and a thorough appreciation of the many sources of develop- 
ment ; the illustrations, too, are thoroughly representative. To many 
the book will come as a revelation. We all recognise that the fonts 
are essential, and in many cases beautiful and interesting features in 
our ancient churches, but few can have anticipated the extraordinary 
wealth of detail which they exhibit when the photographs of all the 
best of them are collected together in a single volume." 

LONDON: HENRY FROWDE, Oxford University Press 

?o T s iss E H N o T ir LDEs,GNL,B ^ 



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